Cause for concern: Albanians are ageing and population is declining

Cause for concern:  Albanians are ageing and population is declining

Deaths which grow in number and births which decrease. Without forgetting the fact that Albanians are constantly leaving the country, offering a very sad projection on its future as far as the figures of population are concerned. Thus, only two days after the Institute of Statistics published the pessimistic figures regarding to Albanians who currently live here, this institution has also published other data that complete the sad reality of a country, the citizens of which are leaving and declining in number as the years go by, while the opposite should be happening. According to INSTAT, at the end of last year, births have gone down by 2.3%. “In 2017, the number of births was 30.869, registering a fall of 2.7% on the previous year”, experts of INSTAT also state. This puts us in front of another depressing reality which relates to the population: the increase in the number of deaths nationwide. “The number of deaths in 2017 was 22.232, registering an increase of 3.9%”, experts say, adding that based on a calculation of these indicators, the natural increase of the Albanian population is falling. “For 2017, this indicator is 8.637, registering a fall of 16.5% compared to a year ago”, they say.

NATURAL INCREASE

2017, the year with the most shocking figures for Albanians

Last year has registered shocking figures regarding the Albanian population, because the natural increase of the population has been the lowest one since 1990. With only 8.637 last year, it must be said that it’s far from the figure of 64 thousand by which the Albanian population increased in 1990. This figure has been falling from one year to another, to plummet in 2017, following a natural increase of 10 thousand a year for the period 2015-2016.

PHENOMENON

Gjirokastra is the district with more deaths than births

 There is a district in the country, which, in contrast to the others, is registering worrying figures regarding its population. The district in question is Gjirokastra, in the south of the country, where deaths have managed to overcome the number of births.  A sad reality for which experts predict that if such figures persist, in the long term it may lead to an “eradication”. “The lowest number of births is registered in the district of Gjirokastra, where the number of deaths overcomes the number of births by 41. The lowest number of births for the fourth quarter of 2017 is registered in the district of Gjirokastra with 158 births, with a fall of 6% compared to the fourth quarter of the previous year”, INSTAT experts say.

ENTELA BINJAKU:

“Ageing has started for a while now; it’s a long-term process”

 Voltaire used to say: “Ageing is the only way to live longer”. The drop of the number of population is a global phenomenon, which in the past 10 years has affected almost all European societies and beyond. The fall in the number of births and the growth of the number of elderly people, is leading to a loss of balance between generations. The most relevant factor which has led to a drop in the population and its ageing is the emigration of young people. Also, in some areas, life has seen new developments. This can be said for medicine, for instance. Today, new couples make fewer children in a more advanced age. The reasons which lead Albanian women today to give birth are different from the traditional ones and more complex. Among these reasons we can mention: the cost of raising a child, the opportunities that women have to be educated and advance professionally, the family’s economic status, the marital status including the growing number of divorces and the growing demand to find a balance between family life and professional life. The statistical data which show the tendency of our society to age and the dropping number must worry many relevant players which could have an impact on this tendency.

Deputy chairwoman of Kosovo’s Association of Sociologists

BLERTA HAXHIAJ:

“Albanian families are being reduced, they give birth to only one child”

“The fall in the number of births and the increase in the number of deaths show that the population is shrinking, while other factors have an impact on this result, such as emigration, the economic situation and ‘modernization’ of the Albanian family. Emigration pushes thousands of youngsters to seek a better life abroad. The financial situation is determining, because to raise a child is a big enterprise. The modernization of the Albanian family is happening as a result of the existence of a small family, where in most cases, families consist of the two parents and a child. Meanwhile, the geographical factor accounts for a very important element, where rural areas are more inclined to make many children (although these areas are being abandoned). Studies show that a family living in the village is happier and healthier. Emigration, the financial situation and the modernization of families along with living standards have a great impact on the constitution of the population”.

“Questions at the macro level: Will this number further drop?”

 “According to INSTAT’s most recent report, the population has been declining compared to previous years. According to INSTAT, there’s also a fall in the number of births and a constant number of deaths. This phenomenon shows that the Albanian society is becoming more and more modern.  The decline in the population numbers and its ageing are issues which are rarely debated in our daily lives and this is not an individual cause for concern. The questions that we ask are at a macro-level. Will this number further drop? Are these demographic changes problematic and do they have an impact on social policies and economy? Must pension schemes be reviewed along with the education system? Is there a need to build and improve centers for the elderly?”.