Turkey to get older with 93 million people in 2050

Turkey to get older with 93 million people in 2050

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey to get older with 93 million people in 2050 Turkey’s population will start to decline by 2050, after reaching a peak of 93.4 million, according to Turkey’s Statistics Institute’s (TÜİK) population projection.

In 2023 Turkey’s population will reach 84.2 million. After reaching its peak in 2050 with 93.4 million, the population will start to decline, and it is expected to be 89.1 in 2075, the data released by TÜİK yesterday showed.

However, if the average number of children per woman is 2.5 in 2050, the total population will be 119 million in 2075, according to one projection. The population in 2075 will be 89 million if the birth rate does not increase. Also, half of the population of Turkey will be over the age of 34 in 2023, the data showed.

The announcement came at a time when the Turkish government is pushing for measures to increase the number of children to at least three in each family.

The aging of the population is a serious problem which necessitates certain measures, according to Professor Seyfettin Gürsel, director of Bahçeşehir University Center for Economic and Social Research (Betam).

The critical time period when Turkey will start to see the results of aging will start after 2030, when the numbers of employed and of elderly people become almost equal, Gürsel told the Hürriyet Daily News in an interview yesterday.

If the current trends of demographic indicators persist, those over the age of 65, 5.7 million in 2012 with a proportion of 7.5 percent, will reach 8.6 million people with a proportion of 10.2 percent in 2023, said TÜİK.

“Population aging is a great problem. The elderly, this means those over 65, will probably be retired and not working and their burden will be on the shoulders of the employed people,” said Gürsel. He said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s efforts to incentivize having three children alone would not solve this problem.

'Decrease pensions or increase premiums’

Gürsel offers measures to solve this problem, such as decreasing pensions, increasing social security premiums, incentivizing having more children, making more people employed through efforts like encouraging women’s employment and designing creative forms of employment to encourage those over 65 to work.

“You will either decrease pensions or increase social security premiums. Or increase the number of employed people. Increasing the birth rate also helps, but actually it does not make a major difference if we look at TÜİK’s projections. It helps but it cannot solve this problem by itself. Maybe all these measures should be used together,” said Gürsel.

Turkey’s statistical authority, TÜİK, recently announced that the country’s population reached 75.6 million in 2012, saying the growth rate had slowed down from 0.13 percent in 2011 to 0.12 percent last year.

Gürsel says Turkey should even consider working on how to attract young employment to the country from abroad.

Another expert believes that the prime minister’s insistence on a three-child policy is ineffective. Professor Özer Sencar, director of the Metropoll Strategic and Social Research Center, said an increase or decline of the population is a social phenomenon and cannot be changed with ideological policies. Sencar told the Daily News yesterday that aging of the population may bring some problems such as “causing brain drain into Turkey, but it cannot be solved when a leader asks people to have more children.”

He said birth rates naturally fall when education levels and living standards increase.
“We cannot say this [population aging] is good or bad. If you just increase the population and do not increase the education level then your living standards will fall,” he added.