Assuming that Greece’s population is likely to decline by one million people in the next 20 years, is the decline in itself of more concern or the resulting mix of age groups? This was among the questions addressed by professor of demography Vyron Kotzamanis, of the Department of Planning, Urban Planning and Regional Development of the University of Thessaly, in a comment on Tuesday on the latest population figures released by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT). Kotzamanis explained that the greatest challenge is not the population decline as such but the reasons for this decline.
In an interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency’s radio station Praktoreio 104.9 FM, Kotzamanis pointed out that the most worrying thing is that the country’s population decline is due to two factors. On the one hand, as the professor pointed out, we have “an increase in the elderly” and on the other there is a decline in the number of young people combined with a gradual decline in the intermediate population groups, i.e. “the population under 15, but also the Greeks aged 15-64.”
“Today 21 pct of Greeks are over 65. Twenty years from now, one in three, or 30 percent, will be over 65 and young people, that are today at roughly 15 pct, will drop to about 11 pct, so the structure of our population is radically changing,” noted Kotzamanis. This, he stressed, will have a significant impact on the population of Greece in many sectors “that we can’t imagine today, such as health, education, the insurance system and others.”
Kotzamanis said that two measures can be taken to limit the phenomenon: one is to restrict the number of people leaving the country and the second is to create a more favourable environment for having children.