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Family policy mattersResponding to family change in Europe$
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Linda Hantrais

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9781861344717

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861344717.001.0001

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Population decline and ageing

Population decline and ageing

(p.11) Two Population decline and ageing
Family policy matters

Linda Hantrais

Policy Press

In western Europe, between the late nineteenth century and mid-twentieth century, the first demographic transition occurred, and analysts assumed that the gradual decline in mortality and fertility rates would ultimately result in low population growth across European societies. The overall effect of differences in fertility and mortality rates is that, by the end of the century, four EU15 member states – Germany, Greece, Italy, and Sweden – were showing negative natural population growth, the number of deaths being greater than the number of births, without a sufficient compensatory effect from immigration. However, Cyprus, Malta, Poland, and Slovakia were not registering negative natural population growth. This chapter, which looks at changing family forms and the family–employment relationship, explores the problems associated with defining, conceptualising, and measuring socio-demographic change from a comparative perspective. It focuses on the components of population growth and ageing. Finally, the chapter examines the extent to which the issues raised by statistics showing population decline and ageing are seen as problems at EU level and by national governments.

Keywords:   Western Europe, mortality, fertility, population, employment, socio-demographic change, ageing

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