Greek demographics: An aging and over-the-hill population

Wed, 19 Oct 2022 8:49 GMT
The phenomenon of aging is growing at a rapid pace – Which is the prefectures of Greece that are aging.
Greek demographics: An aging and over-the-hill population

Mainland Greece is aging alarmingly – faster than even the most dire predictions of demographers. One in three residents of the Prefectures of Arta and Evrytania is currently over 65 years old, a percentage that was expected in 2050, while in eleven prefectures of the country with a total population of 828,000 people one in four is elderly.

At the same time, the phenomenon of aging within aging is developing at a rapid pace: in several regions of Western Greece and Eastern Macedonia the population over 85 years of age significantly exceeds the national average.

A study on the spatial variations of aging in Greece was carried out by researchers of the University of Thessaly, at the national level, showing that the percentage of those 65 and over now exceeds 22.5%.

However, beneath this average there are significant spatial variations.

In a very small group of six prefectures, such as the Prefectures of Chania, Rethymnon, Heraklion and Dodecanese, this percentage is lower than 20%, while in almost half of the regions of the country – in 25 prefectures – the 65 and over population exceeds 24%.

In 11 prefectures, which occupy almost 1/4 of the Greek territory, the specific weight of the 65+ is particularly high as it exceeds 26%, with extreme cases in Arta and Evrytania where the percentages reach 32% and 37% respectively .

Aging mainly characterizes mainland Greece, with its mountainous prefectures recording rates much higher than the national average, while exceptions to the “rule” of rapid aging in the mainland are Xanthi, Attiki and Boeotia and the Prefecture of Thessaloniki.

Looking at the “super-elderly,” that is, the population over 85, the researchers found even greater discrepancies. While the Greek population includes 3.5% elderly people over 85 years old, in 7 of the 51 prefectures the percentages are 1½ times higher than the average.

These prefectures are located in the western part of mainland Greece, which together with Eastern Macedonia has very high rates, higher than expected based on available demographic projections (5.5-6.0% in 2050).

In four prefectures (Lakonia, Arcadia, Phocis and Evrytania) for every 100 inhabitants over 65 years old, more than 20 are over 85, that is, they have exceeded the expected aging for 2050 by 30 years earlier…

“In 30 years from now, most prefectures in the country will be old and some will be super-old, with a large portion of the elderly being over 85. With social changes taking place in the structure of the family, those over 65 then will have a much smaller family environment able to support them, resulting in a serious problem of care and management of the elderly”.

The Diram research program “Demographic Projects in Research and Practice in Greece” is implemented by researchers – professors of seven Greek and one French universities and is financed by the Hellenic Research and Innovation Foundation.


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