Aging Dutch population could pressure pension system, endanger job market
The median age worldwide is about 31 years old. But in the Netherlands –– as in many other European countries –– this number falls somewhere in the mid-40s.
The aging Dutch population will have an impact on the economy and job market for years to come. According to the NOS, this can be seen most clearly in the cases of three countries facing similar but more advanced stages of the crisis: Italy, Spain and Japan.
These countries have a median age that is even higher than that of the Netherlands. They also continue to have a low birth rate, a hallmark 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 accommodate having children –– meaning they often put this off until much later in life, according to the NOS.
"If a couple doesn't get together until they're both over 30, the chances of having two or three children are getting smaller and smaller," demographer Elena Ambrosetti told the NOS.
This can have consequences, which Spain, another country with an aging population, is seeing firsthand. One in three Spaniards will likely be older than 65 in 2050. This is because of migration of Spanish youth, as well as a low birth rate. Economist Raymond Torres told the NOS this has led to a deficit of skilled personnel in the Spanish workforce.
The pension system is also in danger, with not enough young people on the labor market. In the Netherlands, the pension age increased by three months in 2022, although it will be frozen at this age for the next couple of years. Japan's current dilemma could illustrate the Netherlands' future, however: the East Asian country with the world's oldest population is encouraging its senior citizens to stay in the workforce after retirement age, the NOS reports.
Japan also looks to migrants to get the job done, although its policies are often harsh toward foreigners. "The government only wants people to come over if it is beneficial for companies and if there are really too few people otherwise," explained Ayumi Maido, who is involved in a migrant support group, to the NOS.