Elderly population to rise significantly in next four decades, says expert
The fertility rate represents the ratio between the average number of live births in a year and the number that a woman would have during her childbearing years - the 15-49 age group.
The fertility rate last year declined to 1.76 children, remaining below the 2.1 replacement level. Back in 2001, the fertility rate was 2.38 children.
“The fertility rate in the European Union is on average 1.5, soon Turkey will have the same rate,” said Professor Murat Şeker, the director at the Istanbul University Center for Urban Policy Research.
Projections suggest that the share of the elderly population, which is currently at around 10 percent, is expected to rise to 13 percent in 2030 and to 16 percent in 2040 and above 20 percent in 2060, according to Şeker.
The Turkish Statistics Institute (TÜİK) predicts that the share of the elderly people in total population will climb to 25.6 percent in 2080.
In 2015, there were some 6.5 million elderly people, defined as people aged 65 and above, in the country, however, the elderly population increased by 22.5 percent in the following five years to reach 7.95 million in 2020.
The share of the elderly people in total population, thus, climbed to 9.5 percent last year from 8.2 percent in 2005.
“If the current trend continues, the share of young population will shrink, and this will have consequences for the labor market. The age dependency will increase, meaning the percentage of the working-age population will start to decline,” Şeker said, noting that the economic conditions play a significant role in the decline in the fertility rate.
Turkey needs to develop policies for the aging population, particularly social security policies, he added.
“Probably, from 20 years today, we will need health institutions and family health centers more than primary schools and kindergartens.”