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Statistics confirm demographic time bomb

Switzerland's ageing population is set to jump dramatically – the number of people over 65 will rise by 90 per cent by 2050.

By then there will be only two people of working age to support each pensioner, while the current rate is four to one.

The Federal Statistics Office report looks at trends between 2005 and 2050. It highlights one of the main pressure points ahead: an ageing population and insufficient number of workers to provide financial support that will have a major impact on the economy.

The report predicts that the current population of 7.4 million people will peak at 8.2 million in 2036 before falling slightly to 8.1 by 2050.

This is in line with the overall forecast of a shrinking European population.

The study suggests that by 2036 the number of immigrants settling in Switzerland will no longer compensate for the negative birth rate that will start to become more apparent in 2025.

Of the overall population, the percentage of people under 65 is expected to fall over the next few decades, in particular among the under 20s – down 15 per cent from 1.6 million to 1.4 million.

Getting on

Population ageing is a phenomenon observed in all major post-industrial societies around the world and appears to be a natural consequence of falling birth rates and greater life expectancy.

The federal statistics confirm that Switzerland will be no exception to this ageing trend.

According to the report, the largest and most inevitable growth up until 2035 will be among those aged 65 and over, who will be joined by numerous "baby-boomers".

By 2050 there will be some 2.2 million people aged over 65 in Switzerland – or 27 per cent of the population.

Time bomb

The report predicts that the number of people of working age in Switzerland will rise from 4.2 million today to 4.5 in 2018 before shrinking to 4.1 million in 2050.

By then, two rather than four workers will support each person of retirement age.

In the workplace the fall in the overall number of men - down 2.2 per cent by 2050 - will be slightly compensated by an increase in the number of women – up 1.5 per cent.

The number of women with full-time posts is predicted to rise by ten per cent, while the report's authors indicate there will be 4.8 per cent fewer men working 40 hours a week since they will stay home more often to share household responsibilities.

swissinfo

Key facts

The Swiss population is expected to peak at 8.2 million in 2036 before falling to 8.1 in 2050.
The number of people aged 65 and over will increase by 90% in the same period to 2.2 million people - or 27% of the population.
The Swiss trends mirror those in the European Union where the number of people 60 or over is expected to constitute one-third of Europe's population by 2050.
In 2005 average life expectancy in Switzerland for men was 78.7 years and 83.9 years for women - slightly up on previous years.
The Swiss birth rate in 2005 was 9.77 per 1,000 population - down from 10.4 in 2000.



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