Parliamentary Assembly
Assemblée
parlementaire

Population trends in Europe and their sensitivity to policy measures

Doc. 10182
14 May 2004

Report
Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population
Rapporteur: Mr Christian Brunhart, Liechtenstein, European People's Party


Summary

Europe's population is expected to decline in the near future. This is already the case in most Eastern European countries and will soon also affect Western Europe. In addition, Europe will experience further population ageing. This process consists of population “greying” (increase of the older age groups) due to improved mortality control at higher ages and population dejuvenation due to fertility that lies below the level required to assure long-term generational replacement. Moreover, the coming decades will be characterised by a strong ageing wave because the post-war baby-boom generations will reach old age and are followed by the baby-bust generations that succeeded them.

Both population decline and population ageing require adaptive population-related policy measures in many domains of social and economic life. Prolonged population decline and population dejuvenation are thought to induce many unfavourable social, cultural, economic and political consequences and will, at some point of time, also require population-related policies aimed at changing the current demographic trends.

The population challenges with respect to population decline and population ageing can, in principle, be addressed via three different demographic mechanisms: fertility, mortality, migration, but they can not be resolved by simple or single measures or by short-term policies. Population-related policies have to address the complexity of demographic-societal interactions and interdependencies and have to have a long-term view.

Whereas ongoing modernisation in recent decades has produced beneficial results in many domains of social life, it has not succeeded in dealing adequately with some societal-demographic interactions which will, in the present cultural, economic and policy context, result in a forthcoming population decline and further population dejuvenation. The current “toolbox” of population- and family-related policies has in most countries proven to be either insufficient or/and inadequate to address those problems.

Therefore, this report aims at presenting a comprehensive set of policy recommendations to address adequately future population decline and population ageing.

I.          Draft recommendation

1.         Europe stands on a demographic threshold. After a century of natural population increase, the outlook for this century is rather natural decrease and excessive population ageing. A large part of Eastern European countries are already facing population decline and many of the Western countries are expected to experience the same phenomenon in the near future. Migration pressures from surrounding developing countries will, for a long time, continue to persist.Notwithstanding cross-country differences in intensity and pace of the demographic changes that will continue to persist, all European societies are or will be facing essentially the same trends with respect to population decline and population ageing.

2.         Regarding parenthood, individuals may be happy with having no children or one or two only. Society by contrast needs to ensure intergenerational solidarity and continuity and this requires a substantial proportion of larger families. As far as longevity is concerned, people aspire for a long and healthy life but society needs to provide an age-friendly environment while maintaining intergenerational equity in all domains of social life.

3.         It is likely that the recent, current and possible future changes in relational and reproductive behaviour are due to complex interrelations of accelerated changes in economic, cultural, ideological, social and technological features of advanced societies and cannot be resolved by simple or single and short-term policy measures.

4.         A special case forms the recent fast and steep fertility decline in Eastern Europe, where the economic and political changes after the collapse of the communist regimes were accompanied by the abolishment or weakening of the social situation of women and the social protection system in general.

5.         The effects of the recent social, cultural, economic and technological progresses are beneficial in many domains: for most people quality of life has increased, individual emancipation and development have progressed and in particular the social position of women has improved, leisure activities have increased and diversified, the health situation has improved and longevity has increased. On the other hand, recent modernisation and change in the socio-economic sphere have in most countries not achieved a harmonious relation between work and family life, have not yet fully realised equal opportunities for women and men, have not been able to maintain or to create a really child-friendly environment and have not offered long-term labour security, nor succeeded in offering healthy older citizens adequate access to employment.

6.         The demographic challenges in the fields of population decline and excessive population ageing need to be addressed without endangering the fundamental human and societal goals and acquisitions of European democracies, including, inter alia, further improving the quality of life, further increasing participation rates in higher levels of education, further increasing the labour participation of women, young adults and younger elderly and offering long-term work opportunities, further increasing longevity, providing a generous and just social protection system.

7.         In general, demographic problems cannot be resolved by quick-fix solutions, short term-policies or simple or single measures. The current “toolbox” of population- and family-related policies has in most countries proven to be either insufficient or/and inadequate to address properly challenging population issues in Europe. Policies have to address the complexity of demographic-societal interactions and interdependencies. The complexity of demographic processes and their interaction with virtually all social domains requires in most areas both adaptive and modifying policies.

8.         Without some considerable changing of present cultural values, socio-economic living conditions and policy context, it is unlikely that the coming decades will see a substantial and durable recovery of present fertility rates.

9.         The Parliamentary Assembly, therefore, recommends that the Committee of Ministers:

i.          stimulate the emergence of common European policies in the domains of demographic developments and population-related issues;

ii.         promote policies for a better harmonisation of family and working life, in particular in favour of women, including the creation of necessary child-care facilities;

iii.         consider population impact of envisaged policy measures and recommendations in all domains of social life;

iv.         encourage closer co-operation among the dispersed international research instruments in Europe for analysing and monitoring population developments and population related policies;

v.          strengthen, in anticipation of a major reorganisation and broadening of the international comparative population research in Europe, the European Population Committee (CAHP) of the Council of Europe;

vi.         include in the terms of reference of the European Population Committee (CAHP) that it may be called upon by the Parliamentary Assembly or one of its Committees to produce a short policy paper as a background document to be used in drawing up an Assembly report or as a contribution to an Assembly debate or hearing;

vii.        call on member states to:

a.         address the major demographic challenges in Europe;

b.         pursue a general societal consensus on population goals and population-related policies;

c.         deal with the problems of population decline and excessive population ageing without endangering the fundamental human and societal goals and acquisitions in Europe;

d.         develop long-term population-related policies that take adequately into account the generational and intergenerational dimensions of demographic processes;

e.         address the fundamental causes of demographic trends which are considered as challenges for social cohesion, intergenerational solidarity and continuity;

f.          on the hypothesis that it is considered desirable to redress below-replacement fertility around replacement level:

A.         further pursue vigorously gender equality and emancipatory policies, not only to facilitate the combina­tion of motherhood with other activities, in particular participation in the labour force, but also to involve fathers in child caring and rearing and household tasks, so that they can fully share family responsibilities with their partners;

B.         more strongly eliminate existing parenthood-linked financial inequities in society;

C.         creating a more child-friendly environment, more particularly in urban areas, and providing more childminding facilities in all domains of social life – work, leisure, gatherings – so that children again appear as a welcome constituent in society;

D.         promoting child- and family-oriented values, inter alia, by introducing family and population issues in the educational system;

E.         rethink the organisation of the entire life-course perspective of work, parenthood and retirement.

g.         in the domain of population ageing:

A.         adapt the social protection system – pension system, health care and other public funded care – to the new demographic regime to keep it sustainable in a long-term perspective;

B.         activate the younger elderly, especially by making pre-pension schemes and retirement age more diversified, so as to keep older workers, albeit in a variable and flexible way, in the work force;

C.         strengthen intergenerational solidarity with a view to maintaining or redressing intergenerational equity in life opportunities and options;

h.         in the domain of immigration:

A.         develop comprehensive integration policies adjusted to the specific labour needs and reception capacity of the host country, including measures to give immigrants opportunities to participate in and contribute to the life of their host society; .

II.         Explanatory memorandum by Mr Brunhart

CONTENTS

1.    Introduction

2.    Recent and expected population trends in Europe

2.1. Population size

2.2. Population age structure

2.2.1. Trends

2.2.1.1. The oldest old (80+)

2.2.1.2. Working age population (15-64)

2.2.1.3. Age at retirement

2.2.2. Future perspectives for population ageing

2.2.2.1. Future expectations for the oldest old

2.2.2.2. Future expectations for the population of working age

3.    Background factors of recent and expected population changes in population size and age structure

3.1. Demographic determinants

3.1.1. Partnership

3.1.2. Fertility

3.1.3. Life expectancy

3.1.4. Migration movements

3.2. Underlying social determinants

3.2.1. Family building

3.2.2. Health

3.2.3. Potential for migration from developing countries

4.    Population challenges for the future

4.1. Context

4.2. Challenges with respect to population size

4.3. Challenges with respect to population age structure

4.4. Challenges with respect to immigration

4.4.1. Immigration or no immigration

5.    Policy options

5.1. Policy options with respect to fertility

5.1.1.  Context

5.1.2. Policy options based on the hypothesis that it is desirable to redress fertility at or around replacement level

5.1.2.1.   Gender equality and emancipatory policies

5.1.2.2.   Family and child-friendly policies

5.1.2.3.   Creation of a more child-friendly environment

5.1.2.4.    Promoting child and family oriented values

5.1.2.5.    Rethinking the life course perspective of work, parenthood and retirement

5.1.3.     Policy options based on the hypothesis that it is undesirable or unfeasible to influence fertility

5.1.3.1.    Activating the inactive

5.1.3.2.   Increasing productivity

5.2.   Policy options with respect to longevity

5.2.1.     Context

5.2.2.      Policy options based on the hypothesis that it is desirable to deal with population 'greying'

5.2.2.1.   Active ageing

5.2.2.2.   Adapting the social protection system

5.2.2.3.   Intergenerational solidarity

5.2.3. Policy options based on the hypothesis that it is undesirable to activate the older adults

5.3.   Policy options with respect to immigration

5.3.1.   Context

5.3.2.     Policy options based on the hypothesis that immigration is a desirable instrument to compensate perceived deficiencies in population size and age structure in Europe

5.3.2.1.   Selective immigration

5.3.2.2.   Immigrant integration

5.3.2.3.   Illegal migration

5.3.2.4.   Compensating for brain drain

5.3.2.5.   Development cooperation

5.3.3.        Policy options based on the hypothesis that immigration is not a desirable instrument to compensate perceived deficiencies in population size and age structure in Europe

6.    Conclusions

1.         Introduction

1.         The report has been drawn up in response to the “Motion for a recommendation” presented by Mr Tkác and others of 13 May 2003 to the Parliamentary Assembly[1] and has been drafted in interaction and consultation with the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population and its Sub-Committee on Population.

2.         The motion for a recommendation concentrates on the societal and policy implications of population decline and population ageing in Europe. These issues are related, in complex interaction and feedback relations, to many other phenomena such as family life, health, education, employment, leisure. In order to avoid that the discourse deviates from its primary aim of identifying the societal and policy implications of population decline and population ageing, this report will be limited to these issues. This implies that this document is not an all-embracing overview of population trends and population (related) policies, but a focused topical report. In particular it is limited to Europe whose demographic challenges are different from those of the developing world. This limitation does not imply that the world population problems would be of lesser importance, on the contrary, but they require in many respects a very different policy approach.[2]

3.         The central thesis is that patterns of individual behaviour and the current societal strategies to deal with the outcomes of individual choices regarding family building and increasing longevity, risk perpetuating population decline and further accelerate population ageing. Regarding parenthood, individuals may be happy with having no children or one or two only. Society by contrast needs to ensure intergenerational solidarity and continuity and this requires a substantial proportion of larger families. Regarding longevity people aspire for a long and healthy life and society needs to provide an age-friendly environment while maintaining intergenerational equity in all domains of social life.

4.         The effects of the recent technological, economic, and cultural progress and social policies in Europe are beneficial in many domains: for most people quality of life has raised, individual emancipation and development have progressed and in particular the social position of women has improved, leisure activities have increased and diversified, and health and longevity have increased. However, recent progress in modernisation and change in the socio-economic climate have not succeeded in most countries to harmonise the partial incompatibility between work and family life in the life course perspective, have not yet fully enhanced equal opportunities for women and men, have not yet created a really child-friendly environment, have not offered long-term labour security, and have not succeeded sufficiently in maintaining healthy older citizens socially active and well integrated in society. Last but not least, the evolving political-economic climate, with its increasing pressures for competition in all spheres of life, is unlikely to lead to a spontaneous fertility recovery. Many of these factors contribute, inter alia, to keep fertility below the level necessary for long-term intergenerational continuity. The demographic consequences are the fast and continuous population decline and excessive population ageing.

5.         Since population and family issues are strongly subjected to sensitive ideological divergence and controversy, the sections on population policy challenges and policy options are drafted in alternative, though not necessarily mutually exclusive proposals with an explanation of their possible implications, and respective advantages and disadvantages. In a knowledge-based society, all relevant actors have an input in the identification of the problems, their interpretation and the conceptualisation of policy responses to societal challenges. The significant contribution scholars can give to population policy building is to provide sound analysis of problems, identify underlying causes and options for overcoming negative social consequences of demographic disbalances.

6.         This report builds on the existing scientific literature. In particular use has been made of the recent population studies of the European Population Committee of the Council of Europe[3] and the results of the Network for Integrated European Population Studies (NIEPS) of eleven national population institutes in Eastern and Western Europe.[4]

7.         The rapporteur on behalf of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population wants to thank Professor Robert Cliquet, Population and Social Policy Consultants, and former Chairman of the European Population Committee of the Council of Europe, for his work for the drawing up of this report and for his inspiring and knowledgeable presentations and contributions to the debase on this report in the Committee.

2.                  Recent and expected population trends in Europe

8.         This parsimonious overview of recent and expected population trends in the major subregions of Europe relates to the last half of the 20th century and the first half of the 21st century. For the analysis of the demographic future use is made of the population scenarios of the United Nations[5], and desk review of pertinent literature. The general trends that appear from all projections are quite similar, with minor deviations depending on the underlying hypotheses on the future course of fertility, mortality and migration. They all present estimates of future population trends in several variants – usually medium, high and low – reflecting the range of uncertainty about future demographic events and processes. As a starting point, the medium variant scenarios will be considered.

2.1.       Population size

9.         The second half of the former century was still characterised by population growth in all major regions of Europe. This growth was strongest in what is now the Russian Federation, in Eastern Europe and in Southern Europe.

10.       In the Russian Federation and in Eastern Europe, population started to decline at the turn of the 20th century. According to the medium population projection variant of the United Nations, this is also expected to happen in Southern Europe in a few years, followed by Western Europe after 2010 and finally by Northern Europe after 2030. The decrease is expected to be very strong in the Russian Federation, Eastern and Southern Europe, and more moderate in Western and particularly in Northern Europe (Figure 1).

11.       The data for the major European regions obviously mask decrease differentials for some individual countries that are ahead or behind in particular demographic processes. For instance, Germany – West as well as East – experienced already in the mid 1980 a population decrease. By contrast, Ireland will, due to its sustained relatively high fertility in the past decades, continue to grow in the first half of this century.

Figure 1.          Development of population size in the major regions of Europe, 1950-2050 (Index 1950 = 100)

Source:    calculations on the basis of United Nations classification and medium variant population scenario (United Nations, 2001)

12.       The medium variants of international population scenarios usually hypothesize that fertility will partially recover and slightly increase, although not necessarily to replacement levels. This is by no means self-evident. Research shows that without substantial policy changes to underpin behavioural changes, fertility levels may be expected to remain low, and in some countries even fall to the levels observed in some Southern European countries that are 40 percent below replacement. The medium variants of most population projections or scenarios may, indeed, underestimate the expected population decrease.

2.2.       Population age structure

2.2.1.   Trends

13.       During the second half of the 20th century the proportion of persons aged 65 and over in the total population has risen in all major regions of Europe, both numerically and as a share of the total population (Figure 2). The absolute size of the elderly more than doubled during the last 50 years from 46 to 112 million people and their relative weight in the total population increased from 8% in 1950 to 14% in 2000. Europe has the oldest population in the world.

Figure 2.          The recent and further expected increase of the elderly population (65+) in Europe, 1950-2050

Source:    calculations on the basis of the United Nations medium variant population scenario (United Nations, 2001)

14.       However, cross-country differences continue to persist in Europe. The largest difference exists between Western and Eastern Europe where the progress in life expectancy stagnated and even regressed in the last third of the former century.[6] But also in the West some between-country differences in the pace of population ageing and the impact of changes in the age pyramid – at the bottom (caused by fertility decline) and top (caused by longevity increase) – on population ageing patterns are considerable. In the year 2001 Italy had the highest proportion of the elderly population (18 percent) while Ireland had the lowest (11 percent). Increasing longevity and more particularly persistent very low fertility, over past two to three decades, in Italy, Greece, and Spain, resulted in a rapid increase in the number and proportion of the aged.[7]

2.2.1.1. The oldest old (80+)

15.       The striking feature of population ageing is the increase of the 'oldest old', the population of 80 years of age and over. The oldest old typically account for slightly more than 15 percent of the population 60+, but reach in some countries more than 20 percent. The highest figures are currently found in Switzerland and Denmark (20 percent), and Norway and Sweden (22 percent) (Figure 3). Currently there are 21 million above the age of 80 in Europe and the figure is expected to increase to 60 million in 2050.

Figure 3.          The share of the population of 80 and more in the different regions of Europe

Source: calculations on the basis of the United Nations medium variant population scenario (United Nations, 2001)

2.2.1.2. Working age population (15-64)

16.       In the second half of the 20th century, the population of working age (15-64) showed the tendency either to increase or to remain stationary in the different regions of Europe (Figure 4). However, as of 2010 it is expected to decrease throughout Europe.

17.       The decrease in the size of the working age population and ageing of the work force affects many spheres of socio-economic life and choices that individuals make. They range from overall labour supply, income distribution, public spending for social protection, investments, to the general wealth of nations; and from individual patterns of work to spendings and savings over the life course. In terms of labour force ageing, the issue of productivity takes a prominent role. Since capacity for work is strongly dependent upon the phases of the individual life course, the labour supply and productivity are influenced by changes in population age composi­tion. Under the current labour market and social policy framework, further population ageing may be a cause for shortages of labour supply.

Figure 4:     The recent and further expected variation of the population of working age (15-64) in Europe, 1950-2050

Source: calculations on the basis of the United Nations medium variant population scenario (United Nations, 2001)

2.2.1.3. Age at retirement

18.       From the beginning of the 20th century until about 1970, age at retirement among men has been clustering around age 65 in most European countries. Since the 1970s the average age at retirement has been decreasing continuously. For women, the picture is more heterogeneous due to their increasing labour force participation from considerably lower levels than those for men.

19.       Biological and societal perception of ageing evolved in opposite directions.[8] Figures for Germany and Sweden, for instance, illustrate clearly the trend observed for industrialized countries in general, namely a marked increase in life expectancy and a marked decrease of age at retirement (Figure 5).

Figure 5.          Development of life expectancy at birth and mean age at retirement in Germany and Sweden

Source:   Avramov & Maskova, 2003

20.       The proportion of people aged 60 or more who are still in the work force is extremely low. Data for the European Union countries show that in the northern countries 15 percent of men and 4 percent of women are working; in the southern countries the proportions are 12 percent and 3 percent respectively. In the western European countries the share of economically active people slumbered to as low as 7 percent among men and 2 percent among women. Almost all people are retired by age 65 and those who are close to the statutory age of retirement, aged between 60 and 65 who are still in the work force account for the minority of that age group. Between 60 and 65 only 26 percent of men and 9 percent of women are still working (Table 1).

Table 1.            Percent of working men and women in the European Union countries, by regions, and by age group

Age group

Northern countries

Southern countries

Western countries

EU

 

Men

Women

Men

Women

Men

Women

Men

Women

60-64

39.8

14.2

33.2

9.5

17.4

6.9

26.4

9.0

60+

15.4

4.3

12.1

3.4

6.7

1.9

10.1

2.8

65+

6.3

1.6

4.2

1.5

2.4

0.5

3.7

1.0

Source: Avramov, 2003

2.2.2.   Future perspectives for population ageing

21.       The future ageing of European countries depends on their demographic past, and on the future course of fertility, mortality and also migration.

22.       According to the latest UN medium variant population scenario[9] the population of 65 years and over will reach 33 percent in Southern Europe, and 28 to 29 percent in the rest of Europe by 2050 (Figure 2). These figures may be underestimated, because the progress in life expectancy might go faster and the fertility levels might remain below replacement level. The mortality decrease at higher ages might go on until the species-specific life span has been reached. Future population scenarios for Europe with total fertility rate (TFR) at replacement fertility (TFR = 2.1), species-specific life expectancy (e.g. male = 90; female = 95) and zero net migration lead to 35 percent elderly aged 60 years and over by 2050[10]. Strong below-replacement fertility levels, such as are nowadays observed in some regions of Italy[11], obviously would lead to much higher proportions of elderly. With a TFR of 1.3 and the above mentioned species-specific life expectancy, elderly of 60 years and over would account for 46 percent of the total population in 2050.

23.       Europe will experience in the coming decades a temporary acceleration of population ageing. The big ageing wave will start around 2010 when the post-war 'baby boom' cohorts will begin reaching the age group of 65+ and the 'baby bust' cohorts of the 1970s and following years will reach middle age.

24.       Due to the different initial age structures and fertility levels that vary between countries, differences in the shares of elderly will continue to persist. Furthermore, within country variation in population ageing, already characterised by the concentration of elderly in particular regions, is likely to be considerable.

25.       So far the progressing population 'greying' is mainly the result of the 'curve squaring strategy', by which life expectancy is brought closer to the biological potential lifespan. These efforts are generally expected to lead to further modest gains in the course of this century.[12] As was said before, not much progress has been made in the field of 'life-extending strategies'.[13] One has, however, to take into account that, in the future, bio-medical progress might allow to extend longevity beyond the present species-specific life span and that the ageing problem might consequently raise far above the level that can reasonably be expected now.

2.2.2.1. Future expectations for the oldest old

26.       The oldest old (aged 80 years or over) are expected to be the fastest growing population group. During the first half of the 21st century their number should almost triple from current 22 to 65 million persons. The highest rate of growth is projected for 2000-2015 with an almost 50% increase in absolute size. Between 2015 and 2030 a little slowdown of growth can be expected. Nevertheless, the size of oldest old is projected to rise by further 9 million persons. After 2030 the growth will speed up again resulting in the absolute increase of oldest old by more than 22 million people up to 2050. By that time, the oldest old are, according to the UN medium variant, estimated to account for 7 percent in Eastern Europe, 10 percent in Northern Europe and some 12 percent in Southern and Western Europe (Figure 3), but again these figures may be underestimated.

2.2.2.2. Future expectations for the population of working age

27.       Against the background of a slight total population decline, the elderly population will be the only broad age group that is projected to grow in absolute numbers (by 76% in the period 2000-2050). The numbers of children under the age of 15 as well as population of working age (15-64) are expected to decrease in this period (by 30% and 24% respectively).[14] However, the implications of population ageing for the future labour supply have to be qualified. In the first place, a distinction has to be made between the relative and the absolute numbers of the working age population. In the second place the outcomes differ according to the period taken into consideration.

28.       The demographic scenarios made for the Council of Europe[15] showed that the proportion of the population of working age (20-59) in the coming two decades is relatively insensitive to the widely differing assumptions on future fertility, mortality and migration they considered. This is largely due to the population momentum resulting from the post-war baby boom being of working age. Thereafter a decrease will follow (Figure 6; see also Figure 4).

29.       As far as the absolute numbers are concerned, obviously a different picture emerges. Again most of the above scenarios show no dramatic changes in the numbers of the population of working age until 2020, but thereafter an enduring decline is observed except in the case of increased fertility and high immigration. The present numbers of the population of working age can only be maintained around the present level by redressing fertility at replacement level and high immigration. Stationarity at a somewhat lower level can also be reached by means of replacement fertility only. In the case of below-replacement fertility levels, regard­less of the immigration level, the population of working age decreases continuously and more or less strongly after 2020.

30.       The relative and absolute shrinking of the potential labour supply which is to be expected in the second quarter of this century in the case of ongoing low fertility, will, however, be preceded by the gradual ageing of the labour force, - a process that can be observed already since the smaller birth cohorts of the 1960's and 1970's started entering the labour force. Recent trends in labour participation of the younger age groups strengthen the ageing effects on the labour supply because they remain longer in school, and thus enter the labour force at a higher age. The internal ageing of the working age population will on the one hand alleviate the pressure on the labour market and contribute to the decrease of the unemployment among the young adults, but on the other hand slow down the introduction of recently and better trained young people in the active age groups.[16]

3.          Background factors of recent and expected population changes in population size and age structure

31.       Changes in population size and population age structure are proximately determined by changes in the basic demographic variables, i.e. partnership, fertility, longevity, and migration movements. Those demographic variables are, in their turn, determined by changes in underlying social determinants.

Figure 6.          Proportion of the population in the economically active age group 20-59 in 20 large European countries according to different scenarios

Source: Prinz and Lutz, 1993

Hypotheses

TFR

Life expectancy

Annual immigrants

Scenario 0

1.7

83.5?/89?

0,5 million

Scenario 1

1.3

77.0?/83?

Zero

Scenario 2

1.3

77.0?/83?

1 million

Scenario 4

1.3

90.0?/95?

1 million

3.1.      Demographic determinants

32.       European societies, in the past decades, continued to experience further changes in their demographic structures and dynamics typical for the 20th Century as a whole. Some changes even accelerated or resumed after a temporary slow down, halt or temporary reversal. Notwithstanding the presence of some considerable between-country variation in levels and trends, the following general changes can be observed.

3.1.1.   Partnership

33.       Nuptiality has decreased considerably in most countries, mainly as a consequence of the postponement of the first marriage, but also, be it to a lesser degree, as a result of a larger proportion of people not marrying at all. In the second half of the former century the total first marriage rate fell in many countries from close to unit to half or even less. Also remarriage rates decreased. These spectacular declines in marriage and remarriage rates may, however, not be interpreted as a sign of disintegration of the family as a social unit. Marriage and remarriage appear to be replaced by other forms of unions, mainly consensual unions, or are postponed. Eventually the large majority of the couples marry.[17] Marriage rates, however, do no longer represent a correct picture of the timing and intensity of family formation. In many countries the salient decrease of nuptiality of the last decades slowed down and in some cases even seems to stabilise at a stationary level (Figure 7).

Figure 7.          Total first marriage rate (women below age 50) in selected European countries

Sources: Data from Council of Europe, 2002 and Sardon, 2002

34.       In Western Europe the postponed marriage is increasingly replaced or preceded by cohabitation or 'Living-Apart-Together' (LAT) relations. Unmarried cohabitation is increasing, premarital as well as after separation, divorce or widowhood. However, there is still a considerable between-country variation: in some of the Scandinavian countries, premarital cohabitation is a quite generalised form of behaviour; in countries such as France and the Netherlands, it is fast increasing; in other regions, such as Flanders, Scotland, and Wales, and in Southern Europe it is still a minority phenomenon. In most countries cohabitation occurs as a premarital stage in the life cycle.[18]

35.       Some people have an intimate relationship but maintain, temporarily, partly or completely, separate households, in majority as a result of occupational or other compelling circumstances, less often as a conscious choice. These are the so-called LAT-relations (Living-Apart-Together). Some of them can be classified as commuter marriages, others as visiting marriages. It is still a minority phenomenon that will probably remain so given its financial costs, and in some cases also its psychological stress.

36.       Divorce has increased substantially. The total divorce rate reaches in most western European countries ca 30 percent, whereas in the Scandinavian countries, the UK, and the US it is close to 50 percent or even higher.[19] Eastern Europe shows a strong heterogeneity with the highest and the lowest divorce rates. Just as in the case of nuptiality, divorce figures do no longer measure the real prevalence of union separation. If separation figures of cohabitant couples and divorce rates are combined, couple dissolution appears to be a much frequent phenomenon. Divorce rates were still on the increase in the 1990s, but in Northern Europe and in the United Kingdom where a high prevalence was already recorded in past decades, a slowdown, stabilisation or even a slight decrease can be observed.

3.1.2.   Fertility

37.       After a temporary post-World War II baby boom in the middle of the 20th century, fertility resumed its decline – in some countries in the 1960s and 1970s and in others as late as the 1980s. By the end of the century fertility – measured by the total fertility rate, i.e. the average number of children that would be born alive to a woman during her lifetime, calculated on the basis of the age-specific fertility rates of a given year - reached unprecedented low levels, notably in the Southern European countries. By the turn of the century the total fertility rate seems to have stabilised at more or less strong below-replacement levels. This stabilisation was already apparent in most Northern and Western countries in the 1980s, but is now also observed in Southern Europe albeit at very different below-replacement levels. In most Eastern European countries fertility took a steep plunge after the collapse of planned economy and it is unclear what the expected stabilisation level will be (Figure 8).

38.       Most (married) couples in Europe want and get children. According to the fertility and family surveys in the 1990s, it appears that in most European countries the achieved fertility lies below the desired number of children.[20] When people say that they want or have wanted more children than they actually have, the obvious hypothesis is that individuals encounter obstacles during the family building phase that prevent them from having more children. Socio-economic factors, notably prolonged education and partial incompatibility between paid work and family life, relational factors such as higher age of marriage as well as couple dissolution, and biological-reproductive factors such as sub-fecundity after years of prolonged education and pursuit of firm footing in the labour market, have been shown to influence this discrepancy between the wish for more children and the realisation of small families.

39.       A recent, statistically significant phenomenon in some countries with very low fertility levels is the substantial increase in childless couples. For the western territories of Germany, it is expected that almost one third of the women and men born after 1960 will remain childless.[21] Concerning the timing of births, we observe that since the mid 1970s, both the mean age at first birth and the average age at childbearing increased continuously. In most countries, the age at first birth lies now between 25 and 29 years, and most couples get their last child before the woman is 35 years of age.[22] The postponement of births is one of the reasons for the decreasing or persistent low fertility, since there is insufficient recuperation at higher ages, either because of increasing sub-fecundity or because postponement easily leads to renouncement once a particular lifestyle without children or with a small number of children has been adopted.[23] The current very low total fertility rate probably underestimates somewhat the final decadence that may be expected because the postponement of births will be somewhat recuperated at higher ages. However, there is a general agreement that it is unlikely that the expected recuperation will redress fertility at replacement level.[24]

Figure 8.          Total fertility rate (TFR) in selected European countries

Sources:     Data from Chesnais, 1986; Coleman, 1996; Council of Europe, 2002; Sardon, 2002

3.1.3.   Life expectancy

40.       Mortality continued to decrease linearly in the 1990s. This is true for the decline in infant mortality and especially for the reduction of mortality at higher ages. Life expectancy at birth reaches in several countries more than 80 years for women and more than 75 years for men (Figure 9). Eastern Europe has experienced a serious health crisis in the three last decades of the former century with stationary or even decreasing life expectancies. However, a beginning of recovery has resumed in most recent years.

Figure 9.          Life expectancy in the major European regions, 1950-2000

Source:   Data from United Nations, 2001

3.1.4.   Migration movements

41.       The 20th century saw four major periods of mass migration: the two World Wars, the period of economic boom of the 1960s and the last decade of the century. Three out of those four were connected to international or civic conflicts.

42.       Up until the early post World War II period, Europe was a continent that had more emigrants than immigrants. Partly as a result of the post-transition stage more and more European countries had exhausted their emigration potential and turned from mainly emigration to mainly immigration countries. In recent years also the Southern European countries as well as Ireland became immigrant countries, partly due to return migration. Since the collapse of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe, East-West streams have become much higher than before, but they are still relatively modest and decreased even again the last years. On the other hand, Eastern European countries became attractive to immigrants from further east and the third world. Nevertheless, emigration still exceeds immigration in this subregion.

43.       In the immediate post-war period Western Europe received mainly displaced persons from Eastern Europe and from former colonies. In the economic boom years of the 1960s and early 70s, Western Europe attracted actively temporary migrant workers, first from southern Europe (mainly Italy, but also Spain, Portugal and Greece), later from Yugoslavia, Turkey, the Maghreb and the Indian subcontinent. The oil crisis of the early 1970s resulted in the establishment of restrictive immigration policies, limiting immigration to family reunion, political refugees and asylum-seekers.

44.       The restrictive immigration policies of the mid-1970s slowed down the influx of migrants, but immigration nevertheless continued steadily at a lower level. Family immigration – including both family reunification stricto sensu ('family members joining the head of family who is already a resident') and family formation ('family ties come about after the head of family entered the host country') – partially compensated the decline of the earlier type of labour migration. Also the increasing push forces from developing countries where the rising disbalance between labour demand and supply as a consequence of the discrepancy between their demographic and economic development, and lack of democracy and good governance resulted in increasing numbers of other types of migrants: refugees, asylum-seekers and undocumented migrants. Moreover, the higher fertility of the immigrants from developing countries also contributed to the increase of the population of foreign origin.

45.       In the early 1990s several countries also saw a temporary upsurge of immigrants due to the fall of the iron curtain and to the disintegration of former Yugoslavia and the Soviet-Union. In the last few years the recorded movements showed the tendency to decline, but this is partly compensated by an increase of unrecorded and irregular migration, the exact volume of which is not known.

46.       The cumulative effect of the recent migration movements has resulted in 21 million legally resident foreigners in 1998[25]. This figure obviously underestimates the real presence of the population of foreign origin, due to the uncounted undocumented migrants, the naturalised migrants, and the second and third generation migrants who also obtained naturalisation status[26].

47.       Within Europe quite substantial differences in the volume of migration can be observed (Figure 10). Most advanced welfare states have experienced moderate positive net migration in the 1990s. Major exceptions are Germany, Austria and Luxembourg with high migration inflows. The large influx in the first half of the 1990s, in these countries has, however, slowed down in the second half of the 1990s. Contrary to some expectations that a strong migration pressure would come from the Central and Eastern European countries, the movement from east to west has slowed down at the turn of the 20th century. Major immigration flows are from non-European countries into Europe.

48.       Population and family research on migrants or migrant families shows that the relational and reproductive behaviour of European migrants is not very different from that of the sedentary, the non-migrant population. Differences are, however, significant for migrants coming from developing countries where patriarchal family and traditional gender relations go hand in hand with high fertility. Due to poor socio-economic integration policies of the host countries coupled with ethnic and religious specificity of some migrant sub-groups they tend to form cultural isolates, often cluster in particular urban districts or regions and maintain the traditional family structures and gender relations. Population research does however show that demographic integration measured by decreasing fertility according to the duration of stay or according to generation gradually occurs[27].

Figure 10.        The proportion of migrants in selected European countries

Source:   calculations based on Salt and Clarke, 2002

49.       Future migration flows are extremely difficult to predict on a long-term basis, since they are so sensitive to economic fluctuations and policy decision-making both in receiving and sending countries. However, there is virtual unanimity about the view that there is a substantial potential for continuing mass migration into the EU from areas bordering Western Europe, both from Eastern Europe and from the developing world[28].

3.2.             Underlying social determinants

3.2.1.   Family building

50.       The major recent changes in partnership and fertility have been explained by different, be it not necessarily mutually excluding theories: some have emphasized the effects of economic factors[29], others have emphasized the role of cultural factors, and changes in values and ideology[30]. Still others have drawn the attention to the changes in the gender relations and labour force participation, more in particular of women, and the specific effects of the second wave of emancipatory women's movement[31]. Some also point to the effects of the presence or absence of particular social (public) policies, e.g. in the fields of childcare, reconciliation of work and family life, housing, fiscal measures, family benefits, and replacement income[32].

51.       What precisely made changes in family structures and processes generalise and accelerate in recent decades, which some scholars have labelled 'the second demographic transition'[33]? A variety of explanations have been given, - the post WWII economic development, the oil-boom, technological innovations in different domains (from jet-planes, over TV and the Internet, to modern contraceptives and medically safe abortion methods), women's emancipation, further changes in cultural values, more particularly in the domains of individualisation and secularisation. Some authors take an integrated approach in viewing the recent, current and possible future changes in partnership and reproductive behaviour as the result of the combined effect of changes in economic (e.g. changes in production systems), cultural (e.g. secularisation), ideological (e.g. second feminist wave), social (e.g. development of welfare state policies), and technological features (e.g. modern contraceptive and abortion methods; information and communication technologies) of advanced societies[34].

52.       Particular attention should be drawn to the contraceptive transition or revolution, which took place since the mid sixties of the former century. It has been suggested that modern contraceptives (and medical abortion methods) are the cause of the renewed decline of fertility since the mid sixties. However, when one looks at indicators such as wanted and desired number of children, there are not such big differences before and after the spread of modern contraceptive methods. What those methods mainly changed, was the number of un-timed and non-desired children, i.e. they reduced considerably the former excess fertility. In addition, as was argued above, modern contraceptives changed attitudes (and behaviour) towards the decision process about having children. This does not mean that desired number of children has not somewhat further decreased in recent decades, but the cause of this phenomenon is not to be found in the contraceptive transition, but in social, economic or cultural shifts. Modern contraception was, however, instrumental in the reproductive changes. On the other hand, the acquainted efficient control over fertility allowed or favoured several other family-related processes: premarital sex became less risky; marriage could be postponed or temporarily replaced by other types of union formation. Perhaps it also facilitated multiple partnership and extra-marital relations. However, for promiscuous males, modern contraceptive methods are a disaster: the gene-spreading effect of their behavioural pattern is strongly reduced, if not completely annihilated.

53.       A special case forms the recent steep fertility decline in Eastern Europe. The economic and political changes after the collapse of the communist regimes were accompanied by the abolishment or weakening of the highly socialised family protection system, including high female labour participation, extensive coverage of family allowances, wide availability of nurseries and daycare facilities and of the social protection system in general[35].

54.       All in all, modernisation resulted in a situation where individual and societal needs with respect to intergenerational continuity no longer coincide. Individuals and couples can, in modern living circumstances, be satisfied with one or two children, whereas society needs, for its long-term continuity, a substantial proportion of three and four child families to compensate for the childless and one-child families. Moreover, the interrelations and interactions between work, leisure and parenthood in the life course have evolved in such a way that fertility is more and more postponed to higher ages where biological, social or psychological factors prevent sufficient recuperation[36].

3.2.2.   Health

55.       The continuous increase in life expectancy in Western Europe during the second half of the 20th century results from a decrease of all major groups of mortality causes, and particularly the spectacular decrease of cardiovascular diseases in recent decades. Behavioural changes as well as medical progress and health care improvements are at the root of those trends. Central and Eastern Europe achieved less progress in the course of the 20th century. Since the mid sixties many were confronted with a real health crisis, resulting in a decrease of life expectancy, mainly among men. In recent years a beginning of recovery can be observed in most transition countries. This crisis is usually explained by the effect of different causes which accumulated and interacted: lower socio-economic growth, material deprivation, psychological stress due to rapid social and political changes, harmful lifestyle and bad diet, lower standard of medical services, poor health care organisation[37].

3.2.3.   Potential for migration from developing countries

56.       The economic discrepancy between Eastern and Western Europe - with a differential GDP ratio of 15 - forms a strong push factor for further East-West migration, even in the presence of high unemployment figures in the West. The overall level of migration pressure from the East may be expected to remain high for a long time. Eastern Europe – including all of the former communist states - has a population of 338 million inhabitants, high incidence of poverty and high rates of unemployment, and is often characterised by political instability and ethnic friction. Low educated people from these regions seek jobs in countries of immigration in segments of the market that are unattractive to native population, while those migrants who are highly skilled often accept jobs below their professional skills.

57.       The potential of future immigration from developing countries can be expected to persist and even to become much larger than in the past because of the combination of their population and economic imbalances and the lack of democracy and good governance that exist in many of those countries, leading both to economic and political migration push factors[38]. Whereas the population of Southern Europe e.g. is, according to the UN medium variant population prospects[39], expected to decrease from 145 million in 2000 to 117 million in 2050, the population of Northern Africa is expected to increase from 174 million to 303 million and the population of Western Asia from 188 million to 424 million. The population increase in the developing countries will mainly affect younger age groups and consequently lead to a huge demand for labour (Figure 11).

Figure 11:        Population size of age group 20-29 in Northern Africa and Southern Europe, 1950-2050

Source:   calculations based on United Nations (2001), medium variant scenario

58.       In view of the magnitude and strength of the push factors many researchers include in their future population scenarios for Europe variants with high immigration figures[40].

59.       Both the low and high net immigration variants in the population scenarios of the Council of Europe[41] show that migration can have a substantial effect on population size, but slows down the population ageing only to a minor degree. In the 20 European countries considered a continuous high net immigration of one million per year would result in 65 to 80 million people (ca. 17%) more than under zero immigration scenarios by the year 2050. These figures would even be higher if also the effect of the repro­ductive contribution of the immigrant popula­tion would be taken into consideration.

60.       As far as age structure is concerned, the high migration variants only influence the intensity, but do not alter the direction of the changes in the age composition. Contrary to its effect on population size, mass immigration appears, in a long time perspective, to have no substantial effect on the population age structure[42].

4.                  Population challenges for the future

4.1.      Context

61.       Future population-related policies in Europe will have to take into account and be implemented within the framework of generally accepted shifts in values, norms and social rights in various domains:

62.       Notwithstanding all this, Europe is characterised, within as well as between its societies, by a salient ideological pluralism in attitudes and views with respect to several crucial family and population issues. Some policy actors want our populations further to increase, oppose measures in favour of the spreading of modern contraceptives, are in favour of women returning to hearth and home, and argue in favour of family model based on a sharp distinction between male and female social roles. Others are of the view that population decrease will lower the pressure on the environment, that immigration will contribute to the creation of a desirable multicultural society and delete the notion of family from their political discourse and replace it by consideration for individuals. Still others keep total silence on population matters, not wanting to be suspected of sympathy of ancient pernicious population policies or to intervene in family domains that they consider to be private matters. A coherent and integrated view on a present-day population-related policy needs is virtually absent in the mainstream policy debates both at European and national levels.

4.2.      Challenges with respect to population size

63.       The desirable population size can be discussed in three models: population increase, population decrease and stationary population. When any of these models are chosen irrespective of the pace of population changes, as a rule they reflect ideological preferences. The pace of change in population size is the key element for knowledge-based policy building, both in terms of rationale and use of adequate instruments.

64.       The population growth ideology based on balance of power of sheer numbers of people seems largely to have faded away in most industrial countries. Only in some of the smaller newly emerged European states, both policy makers and the population are worried about population decline in view of their small numbers and thus favour population increase.[43] In most countries, however, the debates do not focus on desirability of population growth, but rather on the desirability of achieving a stationary population model with a stable age structure. Minority voices are also heard in favour of population decline. It is generally acknowledged that very fast population growth that is not matched by a similar pace of socio-economic development is not a desirable social goal and can hamper the well-being of citizens.

65.       Advocates of a population decline are inspired by ecological and/or world population considerations, whereas people who fear population decline are mainly concerned with possible unfavourable socio-economic and political consequences.[44]

66.       The motives for welcoming or advocating a population decline[45] fall into two categories, - the first is mainly concerned with North-South inequities, and the second is primarily oriented towards ecological issues. The developed world forms only one fifth of the world population and consumes a disproportionately high share of the world's energy, food and other resources. The same applies to environmental pollution, namely industrial countries are the biggest polluters. From the point of view of redistri­butive equity, many globally oriented scholars hold the view that a decrease of population numbers in densely populated countries or regions might substan­tially relieve the impact on the world's ecosystems. This relates to the natural resources, the regenerating capability, and the healthy and aesthetic environment.

67.       What is often not taken into account is that in the highly industrialized part of the world, the ecological impact of per capita consumption and the environmentally harmful technology that produces consumption goods, have a greater impact than actual population size. Furthermore it is by no means taken for granted that the population is willing to substantially change its consumption patterns. Finally, if a population decline is considered ecologically favourable and socially advan­tageous over a limited period of time, long-term population decline is obviously not an option since its ultimate effect is the disappearance of the population.

68.       The fear of a continuous population decline[46] has also several foundations. Sometimes it is related to the economic, cultural and especially political effects of decreases in sheer numbers. Although it is acknowledged that in modern societies, sheer numbers no longer have the same weight in political, military and economic competition as previously, the population size is, especially with regard to the North-South demographic differentials, still considered as a pertinent factor in these respects. The effect of a continuous population decline under persistent strong below-replacement fertility are, for a medium long period, much more important than is usually imagined. The population of Europe as a whole (including the Russian Federation) according to some calculations/sources would decrease from its 727 million in 2000 to 167 million in 2100, on the hypothesis that the total fertility rate of Europe, nowadays averaging 1,37, would remain constant at that level and that also the current life expectancy would not change and no in- or out-migration would occur (Figure 12).[47] Thus, the debate about the relative weight of regions of the world replaces the 19th and early 20th century debates about the relative weight of population numbers of neighbouring nations.

Figure 12.   Population decrease in Europe (including the Russian Federation) from 2000 to 2100, on the hypothesis of constancy of Europe's 2000 fertility and mortality rates and assuming no in- or out-migration.

Source: calculations made on the basis of Demeny, 2003

69.       However, the negative effects of a population decline are usually seen in a broader context, and more particularly in relation to population ageing with which it is often correlated. The combined effects of continuous population decline and population ageing are thought to lower society's competitiveness and adaptability[48], to diminish its renewal of human resources[49], and to decrease its possibilities to provide social security and health care, and other social benefits.[50] In conclusion, policy choices will have to be made: do our societies accept a continuous or temporary population decrease? Or do they want to maintain their population size at the current level?

4.3.       Challenges with respect to population age structure

70.       Longevity gives opportunities to individuals and society, but population ageing entails also social costs. These costs are particularly significant in the domain of public pension schemes, and health and care needs of elderly.

71.       There can be no doubt that most European coun­tries are going to experience a considerable ageing wave after 2010, because the large post-war baby-boom cohorts and the smaller age cohorts succeeding them will respectively have reached the age of retirement and active life.

72.       It may be expected that the challenges of the population ageing will be increased due to the combination of population 'greying' caused by a further increase of longevity and by population dejuvenation caused by below-replacement fertility.

73.       The first challenge of population ageing concerns the need to adapt to population 'greying', which will require a revision and adaptation of policies and strategies. The population 'greying' as a demographic reality is not a matter of choice, however, policy responses to the needs of elderly people and citizens in ageing societies is general. Adapting to the new and evolving demographic regime is a gradual process that started already many decades ago with public pension and health care and public services for the elderly. There is probably no way back to pre-industrial living circumstances where the extended family network provided for the livelihood and care of the elderly.

74.       The second challenge of population ageing concerns population dejuvenation due to below-replacement fertility. Dejuvenation exacerbates population ageing. Policy choices have to be made whether to address this phenomenon or not.

75.       The third challenge concerns the increasing (aged) dependency ratio, i.e. the proportion of the number of aged people on the number of people of active age. This issue concerns the activity rates of the population of active age (15-64), as well as the activity rates of the elderly (65+) themselves. In the future it can be expected that both the number and the proportion of the population of active age will decrease while at the same time large numbers of that age group are inactive, because they are, willingly or unwillingly jobless. Likewise, the number and proportion of the aged are already and will further increase whereas their labour participation decreases. Policy options will have to be decided concerning the desirability to activate both the (older) adults and the (younger) seniors in order to reduce the aged dependency ratio.

76.       The fourth challenge concerns the compression of morbidity. Modernisation is characterised by a revolutionary extension of life expectancy, whereby the causes of death have largely shifted from external (i.e. infectious diseases) to internal factors (i.e. senescent deterioration). This change encompasses the danger that the gains in years might be accompanied by years of increased frailty and disability. Expert opinion and research findings on this issue are controversial. Some hold the view that the gains in years have been reached at the expense of the quality of life[51], others maintain that the senescent morbidity has been compressed in the last years of life.[52] There is probably some truth in both positions: the health condition of the large majority of the younger elderly is satisfactory or has even been improved; the major problem relies with the oldest old where degenerative conditions related to senescence strike substantial proportions of the population.[53]

77.       These developments will require policy choices with respect to the prevention of frailty at very high age.

4.4.      Challenges with respect to immigration

78.       As a demographic process migration can have substantial and diverse consequences in many domains of economic, social and political life. The magnitude of the effects depends in the first place on the size of the migrant flows and stocks, while the type of effects depends on specific characteristics of the migrants and the degree of their economic, social and cultural integration in the host country. A crucial and, moreover, sensitive aspect of migration related to the population dimension concerns the autochthone/allochthone relations resulting from a continuing substantial immigration flow.

79.       A variety of views may be observed among scholars and policy makers as well as among the European populations at large. Those views may be clustered around two key dimensions: one concerning positive versus negative attitudes towards immigration as such, and another opposing those who are in favour of ethnically pluralistic societies to those who favour integration and eventually assimilation of immigrants.

4.4.1.   Immigration or no immigration?

80.       Immigration is a response to various societal needs or goals, e.g. attraction of specific qualifications (selective versus indiscriminate migration), safe haven for asylum seekers and refugees, family reunification. In presence of specific labour demands, immigrants can play an important role in the socio-economic development of a country or region. Immigrants often contribute substantially to the rejuvenation of the population, the reinforcement of the labour force, the support of the social security system, the revival of depressed regions or quarters, etc.[54] Whereas migration may have a demographic impact, it is an answer predominantly to non-demographic norms or goals of a given society.

81.       Immigration should also be considered from the viewpoint of the migrants themselves. Depending on whether immigration is voluntarily or involuntarily induced, immigration is usually a strategy to improve the migrants' living conditions and quality of life, to allow them to achieve upward mobility, or to escape suppression or persecution. Research shows that, notwithstanding their often less favourable social position than that of natives, the majority of immigrants express the opinion that their migration projects have succeeded and that they are relatively well integrated. [55]

82.       The discussion is here limited to the demographic rationale, i.e. the question whether mass immigration can be used as a tool to compensate for population ageing and/or population decline.

83.       Research has shown that mass immigration is not a quick-fix policy option for compensating for the decline in the population size or for population ageing. Mass immigration can help to reduce the decrease in the size of particular age groups and of the population as a whole, but it raises many other societal questions.

84.       Regarding effects of immigration on population ageing, demographers have since long shown that replacement migration is not a solution to demographic ageing, because the average age of immigrants is only a little lower than that of natives and the initially higher fertility of immigrants soon decreases to lower levels. Immigrants themselves age and both natives and immigrants need ever more immigrants to compensate for the population ageing and to replace them. Only huge numbers of migrants would succeed in slowing down or neutralize the ageing process, but would result in a phenomenal increase in population size.[56] Moreover, a massive immigration would not necessarily supply migrants with the required qualifications for the economic needs or opportunities of European countries. Given the fact that unemployment is nowadays already strongly concentrated among the less educated and less trained population strata, and particularly among less well-trained immigrants and second-generation migrants, a massive immigration would inevitably reinforce this problem.

85.       Immigration policies, therefore, should have clearly defined goals and be preceded by an impact analysis of the long-term demographic, socio-economic and political effects.

5.                  Policy options

86.       Two types of policy strategies address demographic processes of ageing and changes in the size and age composition of the population. Responsive policies aim to adapt societal structures to the demographic changes, while modifying policies aim to change the demographic determinants, namely fertility levels, the volume of migration or life expectancy in order to achieve desirable population size and balanced age composition.

87.       Adapting and changing policies are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Both can be integrated in various combinations. Adaptive policies are, in all cases, indispensable. Long-term strategies aimed at achieving stationary population will also require policies to modify the current demographic regimes. A fundamental difficulty in reconciling immediate and long-term policy effects reside in the fact that short-term adaptive policies more or less correspond to the political time schedule of elections in democratic countries, while long-term strategies require transcending this temporal dimension and including intergenerational dimension of population friendly policies.

88.       The policy options here discussed relate to the above-mentioned population challenges and are not mutually exclusive. They can be and ought to be combined in an integrated manner in a comprehensive population policy framework.

5.1.      Policy options with respect to fertility

5.1.1.   Context

89.       Discussions on the desirability to maintain population stationarity, invariably lead up to the question how to increase the below-replacement fertility. Spontaneous fertility recovery is unlikely to materialize[57] and adequate policies will need to be set in place.

90.       Up to date, with the exception of France, none of the EU countries has an explicit fertility enhancing policy. Many European states, however, do have family- or child-oriented policies that support having and raising children or more general social policies that facilitate the combination of work and parenthood. Most scholars are of the view that such measures have had only modest positive effects on the number of children people want and finally get, but at the same time admit that absence of such measures might have resulted in even lower fertility levels than those that have been achieved.[58] Fertility period (short-term) effects, due to changes in the localisation of births in the life course, do not always result in increased final descendence. Already in 1986 some scholars concluded that even extensive and costly measures resulting in short-term positive results, hardly ever lead to long-term spectacular effects on the average number of children of female generations.[59] Econometric researches in France resulted in the conclusion that a full compensation of the costs of a child would enhance the final descendence by approximately 0,5 child per women.[60]Acknowledging the limited results which have been obtained so far, it should also be acknowledged that measures taken may not have addressed the fundamental causes of current reproductive patterns, or that measures were largely insufficient to have noticeable effects.[61]

91.       On the other hand, several scholars point to the striking differences in fertility levels between the Nordic countries and the Southern European countries and relate the higher Nordic fertility levels to the strong emancipatory policies that have been developed towards women and the generalised social protection policies.[62] The number of children people want or get is partly dependent upon their individual needs and aspirations, but also on the socio-cultural, socio-economic and political context of their society that provide an enabling framework.

92.       The two other demographic mechanisms by which a below-replacement fertility can be compensated - immigration and increasing longevity - are usually only considered as short-term solutions. Increasing longevity only temporarily compensates deficit fertility to maintain population numbers, and is associated with accelerated population 'greying'. Compensating deficit fertility by means of immigration may equally be of a temporary and partial nature: in the long run it would lead to considerable ethnic population change. Moreover, immigration seems also to be an inappropriate long-term solution to compensate for population ageing because immigrants contribute quite fast to the ageing process and consequently would have to be supplemented by ever growing numbers of new immigrants to keep the population age structure in balance.

93.       Analysts perceive the present position of the current advocates of fertility promoting policies as distinct from the older pro-natalist views formulated before World War II, because a stationary instead of an expanding population is used as a point of reference.[63]

5.1.2.   Policy options based on the hypothesis that it is desirable to redress fertility at or around replacement level

94.       From the literature it appears that this aim will require a comprehensive and multifaceted policy effort in domains such as gender relations, family and child relations, environmental design, child and family values, life course organisation.

5.1.2.1. Gender equality and emancipatory policies

95.       Research[64] shows the need to eliminate existing inequities with respect to gender, not only taking into consideration that women still have a higher parental investment in children than men, but also because modern society is still largely designed to suit men. Policies in this field may not only have to be of a structural nature, mainly to facilitate the combination of motherhood with other activities, in particular participation in the labour force, but also deal with the existing male mentality towards gender related task divisions with respect to child caring and rearing, so that men can fully share family responsibilities with their partners.[65]

96.       Traditional attitudes concerning gender roles and power relations, gender based abilities and remaining forms of gender discrimination in the labour force regarding employment selection, wages, occupational positions and alike are still strongly present and impair both the conceptualisation and implementation of modern family- and population-oriented policies. Public policies need to combat traditional value orientations on gender differences, gender based (in)abilities and gender biased relations.

97.       They need also to eliminate remaining forms of gender discrimination in the labour force regarding employment selection, wages and occupational positions. Public policies need further to strengthen measures reconciling labour and family life, more particularly in the fields of childcare facilities and legal provisions in the domain of parental leave and re-integration in labour force. Moreover, work time flexibility and variability, adapted to family needs, should be promoted. Furthermore, public policies should promote greater job stability for both men and women. Last but not least, family friendly and child related policies need to be universalistic and benefits granted irrespective of the type of family and household forms.

98.       Policies and measures are also needed that may contribute to changing attitudes and behaviour of men with respect to household and child-caring tasks.  Conditions must be created so that men can benefit from part-time working conditions in order to be able to take part in household activities and the upbringing of children, without negative professional consequences.

99.       Gender equality in the domain of family-work relations might be favoured by a generalised reduction of working time. A promising field of action seems to consist of involving private firms in the development of work patterns which develop a family friendly labour organisation, enhance gender equality and facilitate workers to have the number of children they want.

5.1.2.2 Family and child-friendly policies

100.      The necessity to eliminate existing parent-linked financial inequities is often stressed. Children are not only to be seen as an individual gratification to their parent(s), but also as important for societal life and continuity. Some scholars are even of the opinion that societal efforts to be developed in this domain might prove to be of a dimension that is comparable to the one attained in the course of this century in the field of public policy for education, health and welfare care.[66]

101.      Other authors, moreover, argue that inequities with respect to parenthood not only concern the cost of children (including the opportunity costs), but also the costs of care, protection, and insurance of the adults. In pre-modern societies, adult welfare care and survival were largely safeguarded by the number of children one had raised, whereas in modern culture, societal structures among others in the form of the social security system, have largely taken over those functions. The idea of relinking social security to fertility as suggested by several scholars[67] aims at eliminating parenthood-linked inequity by levelling off the differences in self-investment and parental investment, and en­hancing the status and value of children in modern society.

5.1.2.3. Creation of a more child-friendly environment

102.      The organisation and functioning of modern society is in many respects child-unfriendly. In many urban environments more care and place is given to cars than to playgrounds and safe paths for children. Considerable work has to be done in creating a child-friendly town and country planning. Also much stronger childminding facilities should be provided in all kinds of social contexts – work, leisure, gatherings, etc., so that it appears clearly that children are welcome and are a constituent in our societies.

5.1.2.4. Promoting child and family oriented values

103.      If all of the above-mentioned measures might contribute to eliminate inequities and, consequently, help people to have the number of children they want without having to be deprived of the privileges and advantages adults without dependent children can enjoy, they may, but will not necessarily increase the desired number of children to such an extent that long-term generational replacement at the population level is guaranteed. Indeed, in most countries, the frequency distribution of desired family size does not ensure long-term population replacement (Figure 13; Table 2). Increasing the desired number of children in the population means the bridging of the gap between individual parental needs and societal reproductive needs. This is, however, largely a matter of value change, necessitating the extension of the principle of reciprocal altruism between individuals to the relationship between individuals and society. Low fertility might, consequently, also require the valuation of behavioural variation in reproduction. In the absence of substantial and continuous immigration flows, long term generational replacement can only be guaranteed when quite a large number of women surpass the one or two child family size, in order to compensate for those who cannot or do not want to have children or who have only one child.[68]

Figure 13.        Frequency distribution of minimum wanted number of children in selected European countries (1988 -1997)

Source: calculations on the basis of the Fertility and Family Survey database (UN/ECE-Population Activities Unit, Geneva)

104.      Often the question is raised how modern, secularised states can influence norms and values. An arduous task should be assumed in education, where nowadays population and family issues are usually totally out of the horizon. But much more can be done for creating a family and child friendly climate that reflects a high valuation of the presence of (several) children.

5.1.2.5. Rethinking the life course perspective of work, parenthood and retirement

105.      The current toolbox of family-friendly measures might, in the end, prove to be insufficient to resolve the dilemmas facing individual women and men with respect to genuine gender equity, on the one hand, and on the other hand, dilemmas of modern societies with respect to intergenerational continuity and redistribution of resources between generations.Public policies have so far rather badly managed the economy of time of individuals and families in de life-long perspective.

Table 2.           Fertility variance necessary to maintain long-term inter-generational re­placement

Number of children

Alternative models

% women

% women

0

10

15

1

10

20

2

45

10

3

30

50

4

5

5

 

 

 

Average: 2,1

100

100

Source: Cliquet and Balcaen, 1983

106.      To reconcile the peak years of family formation with competition in the labour market, the entire life course perspective of employment and retirement might have to be rethought so as to give more free time and resources to young families and to create conditions for active ageing that entails also the option of working at higher ages long after children have gained autonomy. The existing policies targeted at women's (and men's) emancipation, fertility enhancement and family building apparently do not completely suffice to redress fertility at replacement levels. More fundamental societal reforms may be necessary to achieve the reproductive goals set, first in the domains mentioned above (gender emancipation, child- and family-friendly policies, reproductive values and norms), second in the domain of the organisation of the entire life course.[69]

5.1.3.      Policy options based on the hypothesis that it is undesirable or unfeasible to influence fertility

107.      In this hypothesis, other demographic instruments and economic policies will have to be stimulated, but they will, in the long term, not resolve all of the population concerns and might, in some cases, produce other population problems. In the long run the current population concerns expressed can only be fundamentally resolved by redressing the fertility levels at or around replacement level. It might take some time, however, to reach a general political consensus on this issue.

108.      Non-fertility targeted policies might, inter alia, include selective immigration (see section 5.3. below), activating the inactive and increasing economic productivity.

5.1.3.1. Activating the inactive

109.      The problem of the decreasing labour force can be (temporarily) relieved by investing in unemployed people, by increasing female labour force participation, and especially by reducing pre-pension schemes and increasing age at retirement (see also section 5.2. below).

110.      Many countries are confronted with high unemployment rates among their younger adults. Much larger efforts should be done to employ the unemployed, including the possible necessity to provide them with additional training or retrain them.[70]It is often thought that the forthcoming shrinking of the population of working age will substantially contribute to the dilution of unemployment, because the present reserve labour supply which is available in the unemployed population will be absorbed. However, the future might be more complex than this expectation may suppose. The development of the relationship between labour supply and unemployment is not necessarily straightforward. The increasing concentration of unemployment among less qualified and less able people forms an indication that, in a technologically progressive culture, a shortage of labour supply might co-exist with an assorted unemployed population.

111.      In recent decades, female employment has considerably increased, especially among the age groups 25 to 45. As far as the possible compensatory effect of female labour participation is concerned, the recent trends in female activity levels, the ongoing increase in female educational levels, the results of opinion surveys on labour participation intentions, the evolution of gender emancipatory ideology and the slowly improving policy efforts to facilitate the combination of motherhood and gainful employment, all allow to suppose that a further increase in female labour participation might also be expected for the near future, but at the same time this trend could contribute to the maintenance of very low fertility levels and thus to the acceleration of the ageing process.

112.      A simulation study for the Netherlands where female employment is still quite limited showed that the increase of female labour participation might largely compensate the effects of population ageing in the near future. A similar study in France[71], where female labour participation is already quite high, however, proved that increasing female employment has only a temporary effect on compensating the decrease of the labour supply due to population ageing. It should be stressed that in the most advanced countries, female labour participation has come close to that of males, which means that some extension in this domain is still to be envisaged for the near future, but that in the long term, the existing female labour reserve will soon get exhausted.

113.      Furthermore, it can be questioned whether female labour participation might not, due to women's larger parental investment and desire to interrupt their career in view of taking care themselves of their children during the first years of their life, continue to lie somewhat below the quantitative levels of men, especially in a society where compensatory facilities for such an investment, for instance in the form of financial allowances, temporary maternal leave, parental leave, part-time labour participation, might gain in importance.

5.1.3.2. Increasing productivity

114.      Increasing productivity is obviously an important instrument to partially compensate for increasing demographic dependency ratios. Technological innovation leading to higher productivity per head is one of the important factors that might counteract the expected decrease in labour supply.[72] However, the introduction of technological innovation in the production process is in turn partly dependent upon the influx into the labour force of recently educated young people. Labour-embodied technical change requires an increased educational investment in people, first of all in young people, and when the share of their influx decreases, also of adults.

5.2.      Policy options with respect to longevity

5.2.1.   Context

115.      The increased life expectancy in modern society is a 'triumph of modernisation' and is generally welcomed.

116.      Contrary to the biological ageing process which resulted in a lengthening of life and opportunities to prolong an active life up to a much higher age than ever before in human history, social ageing developed in an opposite direction, with more and more people, retiring at ever younger ages, either because society excluded them from the labour force, or because people, being unsatisfied with their work conditions, took advantage of the early retirement schemes.

117.      The considerable progress made in the living conditions of older people - most are in good health, many are better educated, increasing numbers own their own house, and, compared to former generations, the majority is financially better off than ever before – required a major public involvement.

118.      The early retirement schemes were installed in order to give the numerous cohorts of young unemployed adults a possibility to join the labour force, but companies largely used those schemes to rearrange and reduce their work force. Older workers were ejected, but not replaced by younger ones.

119.      It may be expected that further medical progress will not only further push the life expectancy up to the biological species-specific life span, but that scientific inventions may even succeed in lengthening the life span beyond its present threshold.

120.      It is possible that healthy behaviour associated with less smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, better diet, more physical activity, more careful traffic behaviour, less stress at work, and protected sexual behaviour, will be increasingly accepted and practiced by larger proportions of the population. They would have a positive effect on population 'greying' and on further compression of morbidity to still higher ages.[73]

5.2.2.   Policy options based on the hypothesis that it is desirable to deal with population 'greying'

5.2.2.1. Active ageing

121.     In recent decades, many European countries developed policies allowing, encouraging or even forcing people into pre-retirement schemes. Not only the labour force participation of men over 65 further decreased, but between the ages of 55 and 64 proportions in paid labour also dropped considerably. The early retirement schemes were often introduced as a measure that was meant to foster youth employment. In practice it not only missed the political target, combating exclusion of young people from the labour market, but produced an ever decreasing labour force participation and occupational exclusion of older adults. This notwithstanding the fact that the health conditions, educational levels, and technological support mechanisms are continuously improving and allow most older people to work up to a much higher age than in the past.[74] Today there is a general consensus that the early retirement schemes, originally justified by the need to create employment for the arriving generations and to replace expensive older workers due to the seniority pay system by young unemployed people, proved ineffective and highly costly for the society. The push out of the workforce of older workers was done at the expense of long-term public financing. Early retirement policies largely failed because the private sector took advantage of them to restructure and cut back its work force, rather than to replace older by younger workers. The outcome of reforms was that very few new jobs were created for young adults by means of pre-pension schemes offered to older workers and that the cost of the economic restructuring was partly shifted from the private to the public sector.

122.      The unfavourable effects of population ageing (increasing elderly dependency ratio) can be counteracted by promoting an active ageing policy, keeping older, able workers much longer, though in a variable and flexible way, in the work force. Early pension schemes should, consequently, be reduced and legal and de facto age of retirement gradually increased.

123.      Virtually all authors addressing the policy implications of population ageing suggest that the current policies with respect to retirement age should be revised[75]. At the 1988 ECE-conference on the Economic and Social Implications of Ageing in the ECE-Region this was the most recurrent policy theme. A French scenario analysis shows that increasing the age at retirement with a few years would be sufficient to maintain the labour supply in the first half of the present century at its current level.[76]

124.      The need to increase, via appropriate stimulating measures, the formal and de facto age at retirement, albeit taking into account intra- and inter-individual variability with respect to needs and abilities was also a major conclusion of the recent Network for Integrated European Population Policy (NIEPS) workshops on Ageing, Intergenerational Solidarity, and Age-specific Vulnerabilities, organized by 11 governmental population institutes in Europe.[77] Simulation studies also show that such an increase in retirement age has a positive effect on public spending[78] and allows maintaining the labour supply in the coming decades.[79] In this context it needs to be mentioned that the UN Second World Assembly on Ageing, Madrid, 8-12 April 2002[80], agreed that “older persons must have the opportunity to work for as long as they wish and are able, in satisfying and productive work…”.

125.      Of course, it may be argued that the raise of the statutory age at retirement, if introduced as a partial, segmented measure, may offset efforts to reduce the unemployment among the younger age groups. The policy discourse is strong on reiterating the need to provide work for the unemployed youth, for the inactive women of all ages, and for older persons; it remains weak on integrated standard-setting and strategies to effectively reach a broad population base. There is a clear necessity to address the work/unemployment/inactivity matrix by redesigning the work pattern for all age groups in an integrated work/family-friendly/social and retirement policy context.[81]

126.      Whereas in the past decades, policies in many countries were oriented towards the decrease of the retirement age or the creation of facilities for earlier retirement, – an advantage which was in many cases seized by a considerable proportion of the active population at still younger ages –[82] the health conditions, educational level and social abilities of the population at more mature ages – the younger seniors – increased quite considerably, thus lengthening the individual period of performance possibilities.[83]

127.      Just as in the case of female emancipation, the demographic ageing might form a stimulating factor to (re)valorise the societal role of the new generations of younger seniors whose bio-social abilities and capacities are substantially improving thanks to their better health status and higher training, and to take full advantage of the variation in biological ability and psychological willingness to continue, full- or part-time, occupational activity.

128.      Given the complex nature of the problem and the different and opposite interests that are involved, a holistic policy should be pursued in which employment, retirement, health and welfare policies are integrated, promoting at the same time increasing employment opportunities for older people, reducing easy exit pathways, while at the same time protecting the most disadvantaged and vulnerable workers. Policies should be developed by means of soft reforms, i.e. measures that may stimulate older workers to retire later, but leave the social protection element largely untouched. Examples of such types of reform are the inclusion of long transition periods in the pension reform plans and support for older workers' participation by giving them fewer obligations and more privileges, such as additional leave, increased holiday entitlement, a workload reduction, age limits for irregular work, exemption from working overtime, and part-time retirement.[84]

5.2.2.2. Adapting the social protection system

129.      The social protection system – pension system, health care and other public funded care – will have to be adapted to keep it sustainable in a long-term perspective.

130.      The traditional pension systems in Europe should be reformed and adapted to the new demographic regime. They should be neutral, fair, and robust with respect to the further expected increase of longevity. Pension reforms should be part of an integrated policy together with population policies and welfare and labour market reforms.[85]

131.      Each isolated specific adaptive measure to population ageing on itself – pension system reforms, changing labour participation, activating older people, increasing immigration, redressing fertility – will help but will not resolve the problem. An integrated, multi-sectorial policy, involving all of those measures, will be needed to address adequately the long-term challenge of population ageing.

5.2.2.3. Intergenerational solidarity

132.      Although most measures will have to be of an organizational or financial nature and pertain to specific problems, population ageing might also necessitate behavioural changes, and more particularly require the strengthening of intergenerational solidarity with a view to maintaining or redressing intergenerational equity in life opportunities and options.

5.2.3.   Policy options based on the hypothesis that it is undesirable to activate the older adults

133.      In this hypothesis it will be necessary to deal with population size and age structure deficiencies by means of other demographic processes such as increasing fertility (see Section 5.1.2. above) and/or increasing immigration (see Section 5.3.2. below), socio-economic processes such as increasing work force participation of unemployed and women (see Section 5.1.3.1. above), and economic-technological processes such as increasing productivity (see Section 5.1.3.2. above).

5.3.      Policy options with respect to immigration

5.3.1.   Context

134.      International migration is a fundamental characteristic of modern, globalising society. Partnership, educational aspirations, scientific cooperation, economic activity, ideological convictions, leisure and tourism make people transcend their national borders and settle in other countries. Modern communication and transportation means, moreover, facilitate strongly international mobility.

135.      Migrants, more particularly from developing countries, try to improve their economic opportunities, their standard of living, their freedom of expression, their quality of life in general. However, immigration towards developed countries cannot resolve the demographic problems of developing countries. Europe cannot accommodate the huge numbers of potential migrants from developing countries without disturbing profoundly its own social, economic and political cohesion, stability and security. The demographic pressures and the demographic-economic disbalances in surrounding developing regions require demographic and socio-economic policies in those countries themselves.

136.      Mass immigration of foreigners is seldom welcomed by native populations. Ethnic substitution is undesired by nation states. In-group/out-group relations are particularly difficult to manage in case of strongly perceived differences between various communities and especially where combined with differences in economic opportunities and competition. Racism, ethnocentrism and xenophobia are deeply embedded drives in the human that erupt easily in case of economic or other forms of group competition.[86]

137.      Multiculturalism appears to be in many respects socially dysfunctional and very expensive. Everywhere immigrants need to adapt to their host country in practically all important domains of social life – language, laws, values and norms. In all European countries pluralism in private matters of philosophical or religious beliefs, including vestiary and culinary customs, is tolerated. However, these features are not the key markers of collective identity.

138.      Immigrants are expected to integrate into their host country in all aspects of social life, with the exception of their beliefs and behaviour that have a purely private character and are not against the law. However, immigrants from more distant cultures have seldom been adequately assisted and helped to integrate adequately in their new country and much policy efforts need to go into that direction.

139.      Research shows that immigration can compensate for decreases in population size, but it can not, in the long run, prevent population ageing process.

140.      A major difficulty for the development of migration policies lies in the existence of profound differences in views regarding benefits and costs of immigration. There is no consistent view about ways to manage migration flows and facilitate social and cultural integration of immigrants. Whatever option with respect to migration countries one may chose, the development of a coherent and comprehensive implementation strategy is necessary.

5.3.2.   Policy options based on the hypothesis that immigration is a desirable instrument to compensate perceived deficiencies in population size and age structure in Europe

5.3.2.1. Selective immigration

141.      Immigration must be selective and numerically adjusted to the specific labour needs and reception capacity of the host country. Complex modern societies cannot cope, without provoking or experiencing serious social strive and disorder, with indiscriminate or mass immigration. Immigration needs to be sustainable for the receiving country, and must contribute to the society's welfare, security, stability and cohesion.

142.      Compensating for both population size and age structure deficiencies requires a basket of measures of which migration might be one of the minor components. Possible shortages on the labour market should first be addressed by valuing, mobilising and integrating the existing reserves of manpower of native as well of foreign origin, the latter often being confronted with higher than national average rates of unemployment, instead of enabling enterprises to recruit labour at no cost for themselves but shifting the cost to the society at times of economic restructuring of firms.

5.3.2.2.            Immigrant integration

143.      Immigrants, more particularly of ethnic distant origin, need active integration policies to avoid creation of ethnically/genetically stratified societies. People migrate in order to improve their living conditions and their quality of life. Inadequate integration, especially of second and third generation migrants, can result in ghetto formation, limited opportunities to upward social mobility or full participation in all aspects of social life in the host country.

144.      Integration of migrants implies also the acceptance by the national population of the cultural identity and values of the immigrants as far as they are not against the law or in conflict with fundamental European values concerning individual development, educational opportunity, gender equality, human dignity, democracy and individual's place in society in general. All forms of racism, ethnocentrism and xenophobia, both among the national population and the immigrants, should be combated.

5.3.2.3.            Illegal migration

145.      The potential for immigration from developing countries is so huge, given the demographic and economic disbalances in many developing countries, that Europe cannot absorb all of the existing and expected migration pressures. Illegal immigration must, consequently, be adequately controlled.

5.3.2.4.            Compensating for brain drain

146.      Developed countries may decide to compensate their failure to produce themselves in due time and in sufficient numbers educated and qualified workers in particular fields, to attract highly qualified immigrants ('brain gain') from developing countries. The 'brain drain' the latter may experience would require economic and cultural compensation measures.

5.3.2.5.            Development cooperation

147.      The considerable migration potential from developing countries cannot be absorbed by developed countries without destabilising them socially, economically and politically. Migration pressures from developing countries can only be adequately reduced by stimulating the social and economic development in those countries themselves. Europe might contribute to this by intensifying substantially its development cooperation.

5.3.3.   Policy options based on the hypothesis that immigration is not a desirable instrument to compensate perceived deficiencies in population size and age structure in Europe

148.      In this hypothesis it is clear that population size and age structure deficiencies must inevitably be corrected by other demographic processes such as increasing fertility (see Section 5.1.2. above), socio-economic processes such as increasing work force participation of unemployed, women and older adults (see Sections 5.1.3.2. and 5.2.2. above), and economic-technological processes such as increasing productivity.

6.         Conclusions

149.      Although the fundamental policy goals of European democracies have produced many beneficial effects on the quality of life of their citizens, they have not yet or sufficiently succeeded in dealing adequately with some societal-demographic interactions that will, in the present cultural, economic and political context, result in a forthcoming population decline and a further population ageing, and in particular a further population dejuvenation due to fertility decline.

150.      If European societies are willing to take up the demographic challenges in the domains of population decline and population ageing, they will have to pursue a general societal consensus on the future course of their population dynamics and structures and on the population-related policies to deal with those challenges.

151.      The expected population decline and further population ageing need to be addressed by comprehensive and long-term designed population-related policies. These policies need to be partly responsive to the new demographic regime in Europe, but will, in the long term, also have to include policies to modify trends. All of the basic demographic phenomena – fertility, longevity and migration – will have to be addressed.

152.      Population 'greying', resulting from an increase in longevity, will have to be addressed by responsive policies to adapt social institutions and processes to the newly emerging population age structure, but also by modifying policies to re-activate and re-integrate the younger seniors in the workforce and in society in general. Immigration is not an adequate instrument to compensate for population 'greying'.

153.      Population decline can partially and temporarily be compensated by immigration which, however, raises many other societal problems. On the long term, policies will have to address the current reproductive behavioural patterns. Redressing fertility to or around generational 'replacement level' will require addressing the fundamental causes of low fertility and will require quite substantial changes in values, gender relations, economic processes, financial policies, environmental planning and the economy of time of the entire life course perspective of work, parenthood and retirement.

Reporting committee: Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population.

Reference to committee: Doc. 9805, Reference No. 2842 of 27 May 2003.

Draft recommendation unanimously adopted by the Committee on 26 April 2004.

Members of the Committee: Wilkinson (Chairperson), de Zulueta (1st Vice-Chairperson), Sĝndergaard (2nd Vice-Chairperson), Branger (3rd Vice-Chairperson), Akgün, Akhvlediani, Alibeyli (alternate: Aliyev), de Arístegui,  Bernik, Bilozir, Bousakla, Braun, Brinkel (alternate: van Thijn), Brunhart, Cabrnoch, Çavusoglu, Christodoulides, Cilevics, Cliveti, Dacic, Danieli, Debarge (alternate: Jacquat), Debono Grech, Dedja, Dmitrijevas, Einarsson, Err, Fedorov, Filipiová, Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg, Grissemann (alternate: Himmer), Grzesik, Grzyb, Gülçiçek, Hagberg, Hancock, Higgins, Hoffmann, Ilascu, Iwinski, Jovaševic, Lord Judd, Karpov, Kirilov, Kósá-Kovács, Kulikov (alternate: Provkin), Kvakkestad, Lambert, Le Guen, Liapis, Loutfi, Masi, Naro, Nasufi, Nessa, Olin, Popa, Prijmireanu, Puche, Pupovac, Raguž, Rakhansky, Reymann, Saks, Shakhtakhtinskaya, Skarphédinsson, Slutsky (alternate: Glukhovskiy), Stamm, Stoisits, Stübgen, Szabó (alternate: Platvoet), Tekelioglu, Tkác, Torosyan, Vera Jardim, Verivakis (alternate: Katseli), Vermot-Mangold, Vieira, Wray (alternate: Etherington), Yáñez-Barnuevo (alternate: Agramunt Font de Mora), Zhirinovsky.

N.B. The names of those members present at the meeting are printed in italics.

Secretariat of the committee: Mr Lervik, Mrs Nachilo, Mrs Sirtori-Milner, Ms Kostenko


[1] Tkác et al., 2003.

[2] Cliquet & Thienpont, 1995.

[3] www.coe.int/T/E/social_cohesion/population/publications.

[4] CBGS, 2003; Avramov & Cliquet, 2004.

[5] United Nations, 2001.

[6] e.g. Bobak, 1999.

[7] e.g. Golini, 1999; Avramov & Maskova, 2003.

[8] Avramov & Maskova, 2003

[9] United Nations, 2001

[10] Prinz and Lutz, 1993.

[11] Golini, 1999.

[12] e.g. Olshansky et al. 2001.

[13] Gordon et al., 1979.

[14] Avramov & Maskova, 2003.

[15] Prinz and Lutz, 1993.

[16] OECD, 2000.

[17] e.g. Council of Europe, 2002.

[18] e.g. Trost, 1979; Da Vanzo & Rahman, 1993; Carmichael, 1995; Prinz, 1995; Schoenmaeckers & Lodewijckx, 1999; Corijn & Klijzing, 2001

[19] for data, see Council of Europe, 2002; Sardon, 2002

[20] e.g. van Peer, 2002

[21]Dorbritz and Schwarz, 1996

[22] for data see: Council of Europe, 2002

[23] e.g. Lesthaeghe, 2001

[24] e.g. Bongaarts, 2002

[25] Salt, 2000

[26] Council of Europe, 2002

[27] e.g. Lesthaeghe, 2000; Courbage, 2003

[28] e.g. Collinson, 1993.

[29] e.g. Easterlin, 1980; Becker, 1991.

[30] e.g. Lesthaeghe, 1995.

[31] e.g. Chafetz, 1995.

[32] e.g. Golini, 1999; Avramov, 2003.

[33] Lesthaeghe & van de Kaa, 1986

[34] e.g. Roussel, 1989; Romaniuk, 1990; Cliquet, 1991

[35] e.g. Chesnais, 1996; Dorbritz & Philipov, 2003

[36] Avramov & Cliquet, in preparation

[37] e.g. Bobak, 1999; Vallin et al., 2001

[38] e.g. Golini, 1999; Demeny 2003

[39] United Nations, 2001

[40] e.g. Prinz & Lutz, 1993; De Beer & van Wissen, 1999; United Nations, 2001

[41] Prinz and Lutz, 1993

[42] e.g. Espenshade, 1987; Blanchet, 1988; Lesthaeghe, et al., 1988; Steinmann, 1991; Wattelar & Roumans, 1991; Prinz & Lutz, 1993; United Nations, 2000

[43] DIALOG, 2002

[44] e.g. Cliquet, 1993.

[45]e.g. Ehrlich & Ehrlich, 1990.

[46] e.g. Teitelbaum & Winter, 1985.

[47] Demeny, 2003.

[48] e.g. Chesnais, 1985.

[49]e.g. Calot et al., 1990.

[50] e.g. Johanet et al., 1990.

[51] e.g. Olshansky et al., 1991.

[52] e.g. Fries, 1989.

[53] REVES, 1993.

[54] e.g. Collinson, 1993 ; Moreau et al., 1990.

[55] Courbage, 2003.

[56] e.g. Espenshade, 1987; Blanchet, 1988; Lesthaeghe et al., 1988; Prinz & Lutz, 1993; Steinmann, 1991, Wattelar & Roumans, 1991; United Nations, 2000.

[57] e.g. Council of Europe, 1985.

[58] e.g. Leeuw, 1984; 1986; Ekert, 1986; Höhn, 1987; 1988; 1989; Chesnais, 1985; Calot, 1997.

[59] Höhn & Schubnell, 1986.

[60] Ekert, 1986.

[61] e.g. Cliquet, 1991.

[62] e.g. Hoem, 1990; Sundström, 1992; Chesnais, 1996; McDonald, 2000; CBGS, 2003; Avramov & Cliquet, 2004.

[63] e.g. Lesthaeghe, 1989.

[64] CBGS, 2003; Avramov & Cliquet, 2004.

[65] United Nations, 1975; 1984; 1994.

[66] Romaniuc, 1990

[67] Schreiber, 1955; von Nell-Breuning, 1979; Swidler, 1986, Demeny, 1987; Prinz, 1992.

[68] Council of Europe, 1985

[69] Avramov & Cliquet, 2003; 2004.

[70] e.g. Coleman, 1992; Gallie, 2002.

[71] Blanchet & Marchand, 1991.

[72] e.g. Blanchet & Marchand, 1991.

[73] e.g. Chamie & Cliquet, 1999.

[74] Schultz et al., 1991; Worsley, 1996.

[75] e.g. Legaré & Desjardins, 1988.

[76] Blanchet & Marchand, 1991.

[77] Avramov & Cliquet, 2004.

[78] e.g. Bogaert and Festjens, 1993.

[79] e.g. Blanchet and Marchand, 1991.

[80] United Nations, 2002.

[81] Avramov & Maskova, 2003.

[82] Schmähl, 1989.

[83] Ferraro & Wan, 1990.

[84] e.g. Hagmann, 1994; WHO, 2002; Avramov & Maskova, 2003; Avramov & Cliquet, 2004.

[85] e.g. CBGS, 2003.

[86] e.g. Reynolds et al., 1987; Thienpont & Cliquet, 1999.