LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Refugees and migrants could help Europe support its ageing population and ease the heavy burden on health and social care systems, the United Nations said on Wednesday.
An ageing population is the result of increased life expectancy and lower fertility rates, and puts pressure on stretched healthcare systems, pensions and social care.
One in four Europeans is aged 60 or older, with the number set to increase, at a time when mistrust of immigrants runs high in many European countries.
The 2017 revision of “World Population Prospects” - a report by the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division - said that by 2050, more than a third of Europe’s population was predicted to be aged 60 or older.
Below are some key facts from the U.N. report.
Globally, the number of people aged 60 or more is predicted to more than triple by 2100, rising to 3.1 billion from 962 million.
The percentage of the population aged 60 or more in Africa, the world’s youngest continent, is expected to rise to nearly 20 percent in 2100 from 5 percent in 2017.
Globally, life expectancy has risen to 69 years for men and 73 years for women, from 65 years for men and 69 years for women, between 2000 and 2005.
Fertility rates have fallen in nearly all parts of the world, including Africa - the region with the highest rates - where they have dropped to 4.7 children per woman from 5.1 children per woman in 2000 - 2005.
Europe is an exception to this trend, with fertility rates increasing to 1.6 children per woman in 2010 - 2015 from 1.4 children in 2000 - 2005.
With fertility levels of 4.3 children per woman, the population of the world’s 47 least developed countries is expected to reach 1.9 billion people in 2050.
The world’s population has reached 7.6 billion people and every year it grows by some 83 million people.
China, with a population of 1.4 billion, and India, with a population of 1.3 billion, remain the world’s two most populous countries.
In about seven years, India’s population is expected to surpass that of China.
The population of Nigeria, the world’s seventh largest country, is projected to surpass that of the United States and become the world’s third largest by 2050.
There are 102 men for every 100 women.
Reporting by Magdalena Mis @magdalenamis1, editing by Lyndsay Griffiths. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org