Socio-demographic regularities of ageing in the Baltic states

Peteris Zvidrins, University of Latvia

The purpose of this paper is to characteristize the level, dynamics and differentiation of population ageing in three Baltic States, as well as determine the causes and the social consequences of ageing. The Baltic States are among the most ageing countries in Europe and in the world. According to the calculations of the author, the rank of Latvia and Estonia by three ageing indicators (mean age, percentage of older population, ageing index) is within twenty oldest countries. Mean age of population exceeded 40 years, which slightly surpasses the European average. The proportion of old people, ageing index and mean age in Latvia are slightly higher than in Estonia and particularly in Lithuania. We have found dissynchronous ageing trends among different groups of population (urban –rural, women-men, ethnicities etc.). The Baltic States are characterized by a high level of women ageing and the biggest gap between women and men ageing indicators within the European Union. Demographic projections show that the intensity of ageing in the Baltics will be high, particularly the proportion of oldest old. National social protection systems (and pensions schemes in particular) should respond to these challenges. The law- defined age that gives the right to receive old age pensions has been increased considerably in all Baltic States. Since 2008 very rapid fall of economic development and loss of jobs by hundreds thousands caused decrease in fertility and provoked emigration accelerating ageing process. The emerging conflict between the young and the old people over public resources is a new phenomenon in the Baltics and further increase in retirement age will have the biggest impact on sustainability of existing pension systems. Population of titular ethnicities (Estonians, Latvians,Lithuanians) is younger than population of minorities.

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Presented in Poster Session 1