The median age worldwide is around 31 years old. But in the Netherlands –– as in many other European countries –– that number is somewhere in the mid-40s.
The aging of the Dutch population will have an impact on the economy and the labor market for years to come. According to the NOS, this is seen most clearly in the cases of three countries facing similar but more advanced stages of crisis: Italy, Spain and Japan.
These countries have an even higher median age than the Netherlands. They also continue to have a low birth rate, characteristic of prosperous countries. But other obstacles also prevent people from having many children. In Italy, for example, it is not easy for women to get flexible jobs to be able to have children, which means they often put it off until much later in life, according to the NOS.
“If a couple doesn’t get together until they’re over 30, the chances of having two or three children get smaller and smaller,” demographer Elena Ambrosetti told NOS.
This may have consequences, which Spain, another country with an aging population, is seeing first hand. One in three Spaniards will probably be over 65 in 2050. This is due to the migration of young Spaniards, as well as a low birth rate. Economist Raymond Torres told NOS that this has led to a shortage of qualified personnel in the Spanish workforce.
The pension system is also in danger, with too few young people in the labor market. In the Netherlands, the retirement age has increased by three months in 2022, although it will be frozen at this age for the next two years. Japan’s current dilemma, however, could illustrate the future of the Netherlands: the East Asian country with the oldest population in the world encourages its seniors to stay in the labor market after retirement age , reports the NOS.
Japan also relies on migrants to get the job done, though its policies are often tough on foreigners. “The government only wants people to come if it’s beneficial for businesses and if there are really too few people otherwise,” Ayumi Maido, who is involved in a migrant support group, told AFP. NSO.