Even though world’s population increases, population of Europe and Portugal decreases year after year. Population of Portugal increased by a declining ratio until 2010, but from 2010 to 2015 population decreased by an increasing ratio.
When we looked at change in age structure of the population of Portugal, we can easily say that young population decreases, old population increases because of declining population, so Portugal gets older.
There are several reasons and results of declining population and became an old population. In my opinion, reasons of Portugal’s and Europe’s declining population differ from each other. Even though most of European country’s community and family structures are broken, Portugal has very strong family and community structure. Portugal loses its population because of economic issues and crises.
When we looked at the year 2010 in which growth rate of the Portugal’s population was under zero for the first time, there were effects of 2008 economic crisis. Even though it is an worldwide crisis, Portugal was affected deeply because of its banking system. As a result of crisis, life in Portugal was harder than before, there were uncertainty and worry about future. In such a situation, birth rate decreased, but declining birth rate isn’t the only reason to get an increasing older population and that it isn’t, also, only the result of the crisis.
Due to the crisis, unemployment rate has increased, so government’s social security payments increased. Government got a loan from IMF to make social security payments. Some restrictions were imposed by IMF to Portuguese economy and business life. Young people migrated to other European countries with better life, work conditions and job opportunities turn harder because of restrictions and unemployment. As a result, Portugal lost its young population to other European countries.
As result of becoming an older population, Portugal isa loosing its productivity, labor and dynamics. Government’s social security payments are increasing but there will be not enough productive population to recover the consume old population’s wants, wages, expenditures in the future if Portugal looses its population by an increasing ratio like that.
Government should provide job opporunities to young people and encourage people to increase birth rates to keep population young.
[artigo de opinião produzido no âmbito da unidade curricular “Economia Portuguesa e Europeia” do 3º ano do curso de Economia (1º ciclo) da EEG/UMinho]