Two surveys on active aging

To mark the launch of the European Year of Active Aging and Intergenerational Solidarity, two surveys published on January 13 by Eurobarometer and Eurostat address the subjects of demographic aging and senior citizen employment.

European impressions of aging

The Eurobarometer survey deals primarily with European citizens’ impressions of aging in our societies. According to the study, Europeans consider that youth continues until the age of 42, and that 64 marks the beginning of a late stage in life.

A majority of respondents consider that people 55 and older are seen in a positive light and play a key role in society (particularly within the family), while 28% nonetheless think otherwise.

Furthermore, one third of EU citizens questioned believe it will be necessary to raise the retirement age by 2030. Finally, a majority (61%) think that someone who wants to continue working after reaching the legal retirement age should be able to do so.

Data on the elderly population and the employment rate

The Eurostat survey confirms the demographic trend towards aging in Europe, demonstrating that between 1990 and 2010 the percentage of people 55 and older within the total population increased from 24.5% to 29.6%. Depending on the country, people over 55 now represent between 21% (Ireland) and 33% (Germany and Italy) of the total population.

Moreover, between 1990 and 2010, the employment rate rose more for people 55 and over (+10.6 points for people 55-59, +7.9 points for those 60-64) than for people 20-54 (+2.1 points). The rate remained stable for people over 65.

Today, the employment rate for people 55-59 is 60.9% in the EU as a whole, with considerable disparities: it is particularly high in Sweden (80.7%) and Denmark (75.9%) but remains low in Poland (45.8%) and Slovenia (46.9%).

In the 60-64 age group, the employment rate also varies according to country: from an average of 30.5% in the EU, it reaches 61% in Sweden and drops to 13% in Hungary.

Finally, the employment rate remains low for people over 65 (4.7% in the EU as a whole), the highest rates being observed in Portugal (16.5%) and Romania (13.0%) and the lowest rates in France and Slovakia (1.6% each).