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Economics in a picture

Economics in a picture


The increase in fertility is crucial for the growth and rejuvenation of the population in the long run

The total fertility rate fell during the 1970s and 1980s, and from 1983 onwards it has always been below the population replacement level, estimated at 2.1 children per woman in childbearing age. Eurostat’s baseline scenario projections (EUROPOP2023) assume a slightly rising profile for the total fertility rate, from 1.4 children in 2022 to 1.6 children in 2100. In this scenario total population decreases up to 2080, with a slight subsequent rebound until 2100. The working-age population (20-64 years) has a similar profile, but with a sharper fall over the period up to 2050, mainly reflecting the sharp decline in the birth rate from 1980 onwards.

Assuming that the total fertility rate grows rapidly in the first 20 years of the projection horizon, converging afterwards to 2.1 children in 2100, total population in 2100 is higher and younger than in 2022, with a growth trend from 2070 onwards. However, the transmission of these effects to the working-age population takes more time. Although higher than in Eurostat’s baseline scenario, the working-age population in 2100 is still below the level in the beginning of the projection horizon. This evidence suggests that the implementation of a family support package, which succeeds in the medium term, will only have very long-term effects on the evolution of the overall population and, in particular, the working-age population.

For more details see the Special Issue – “Demographic scenarios for Portugal in the 21st century”, Economic Bulletin of Banco de Portugal, June 2023.

Prepared by António Antunes, Fátima Cardoso, Vanda Cunha and Cláudia Duarte. The analyses, opinions and findings expressed above represent the views of the authors and not necessarily those of Banco de Portugal or Eurosystem.

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