A prominent professor in the field of demographics warned on Tuesday that the future age mix of the Greek population will undermine the entire productive infrastructure of the country.
Vyron Kotzamanis, from the Department of Urban Planning and Regional Development at the University of Thessaly, noted that according to official projections the population of Greece will be reduced by about one million over the next twenty years.
However, in an interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency’s radio station, the professor said that this reduction in overall numbers is not the major problem the country will face.
As Kotzamanis pointed out, on the one hand we have an increase in the elderly and on the other there is a decline in the number of young people. These factors are exacerbated by a gradual decline in the intermediate population groups, those between the ages of 15-64.
“Today, 21 percent of Greeks are over 65, and in 20 years’ time the percentage will be around 30 percent, while young people who are today about 15 percent will drop to about 11 percent, radically changing the structure of our population,” the professor said.
Kotzamanis pointed out that according to official statistics the 15-64 age bracket will be contracting from a high of 7 million people in 2015 to 5.8 to 6.3 million in 2035, and to a total of between 4.6 to 5.5 million in 2050.
This development will have a significant impact on the health system, education, pensions and other sectors of the Greek economy, he warned.
“We need to have people of working age, young people with high productivity to produce our wealth. If we have workers whose numbers are diminishing and their age increasing, how can Greece harness the fourth industrial revolution that everybody is talking about?” the demographics expert asked rhetorically.
Warning that Greece must take measures now in order to avoid this scenario of an aging population, he highlighted two measures which can be taken to limit the phenomenon.
The first would be to restrict the number of people leaving the country through incentives to combat the so-called “brain drain,” and the second is to create a more favorable environment, which would include an array of incentives for having children.