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Demographics: Eurostat, a grey-haired EU population. 27 million over-80s. Record-breaking numbers in Italy, Greece and Spain

(Brussels) In the European Union, one person out of 20 is aged over 80. Two thirds of over-80s are women. This has been found by Eurostat, the European Commission’s statistics bureau, in the run-up to the International Day of Older Persons, which is celebrated on 1st October. Currently, in the 28 member states, out of a population of 500 million, 27 million people are 80 or older. Such proportion of the overall population shows no signs of decreasing: currently (late 2015), it makes up 5.3% of the population; ten years ago, it was 4.0%. Eurostat’s figures, as absolute values, are accounted for by an increased life expectancy (mainly the result of healthcare and medical discoveries); as relative values, instead, by the increased number of old people as much as by the decreased birth rate, so that the proportion of old people increases more than proportionally. In geographical terms, the highest proportion of old people in the population can be found in the countries that look out on to the Mediterranean Sea: Italy has 6.5% of over-80s, Greece has 6.3%, Spain has 5.9%, France 5.8%, Portugal 5.7%. Ireland and Slovakia are on the opposite end of the spectrum: Dublin can boast a generally younger population and a still comparatively high birth rate.

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