Population change in Europe: turning challenges into opportunities

Nico Van Nimwegen


Population dynamics are a major driver of social change. European countries exhibit a wide variety of demographic trends and patterns which reflect their social, economic and cultural diversity and history. Increasing longevity and sustained low fertility spur rapid aging. Living longer, healthier and with smaller families also brings opportunities.Europe’s population is also becoming more diverse which may promote economic growth but can also strain social cohesion and deplete human resources in countries of emigration. Population growth has slowed down acrossEuropeand population decline is becoming a reality for an increasing number of countries and regions. In addition, the declining potential workforce brings challenges to labour markets and economic growth. Emerging new demographic realities inEuropeare described. Demographic trends are shown to not play out the same everywhere. This rich demographic diversity needs to be taken into account by policymakers. The paper explores how to make the best use of the rich potential embodied in Europe’s population and proposes investing in people is a viable way to turn population challenges into opportunities and to break new ground in promoting a society for all generations and genders.

Nico VAN NIMWEGEN, researcher, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute, NIDI, Lange Houtstraat 19, 2511 CV, Den Haag, Netherlands. E-mail: nimwegen@nidi.nl.



population, policy demography

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ISSN: 2035-5556

Reg. Tribunale di Roma n. 3321/54