The Possible Effect of Fertility in Curbing ‘Population Ageing’

Ronald Schoenmaeckers, Studiedienst van de Vlaamse Regering (SVR)

The extremely low fertility levels in European countries – often far below replacement level – receives the attention of policy makers. They are regarded as the main cause for the increasing proportions of older people – ‘population ageing’. The high proportions would be a threat for the existing social security system (pensions and health expenditures). One remedy would be an increase in fertility (the other remedy is more immigration). The objective of the paper is to demonstrate that not low fertility but increasing life expectancy is the main ‘motor’ for ‘population ageing’. In other words, higher fertility is not a ‘remedy’ against ‘population ageing’. To make the argument, we will make use of simple simulation exercises for a selected number of countries. The analysis is a more ‘naïve’ approach of the analytical work by Calot and Sardon, Les facteurs du vieillissement démographique [The determinants of population ageing], published in 1999 in Population.

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Presented in Poster Session 4