By Daniel Stroe – Bucharest
Romania’s population may decrease to a little more than 17 million by 2040, with a more severe drop by 2060 when it is expected to reach to 14.2 million, the country’s statistics institute (INS) warned today.
Attending a debate occasioned by the Population World’s Day, Tudorel Andrei, head of INS, said evaluations show Romania’s population would drop by 12.9 % by 2014 and a further 18.4 % by 2080. At the same time, he said prognosis of the UN’s population division shows Romania’s population may drop to 16.4 by 2060 and to 13.9 by 2080, most of them of advanced ages.
Romania’s current resident population is 19.9 million, dropping below 20 million for the first time since 1968.
Between 2002 and 2014, the population decreased by 1.7 million (8 %), with the most dramatic drops being registered in 2007 (by 1.47 %) and 2008 (by 1.65 %). 2010 was followed by a period of relative stabilization, Andrei added.
He also pointed out that, by 2009, the population’s decrease came amid a high external migration while after 2010 it was caused by a negative growth.
According to INS, the overall cause of the population decline was a reduction of the birth rate over the past 25 years, down from 16 per 1,000 women in 1989 to 8.9 in 2013, increase of the average age mothers give birth to children, from 23.7 in 2000 to 26.2 in 2012, decrease of the fertility rate, from 66.3 new borns per 1,000 women at fertile age (15-49 years) in 1989 to 37.5 in 2012, and the external migration.
The aging process of the Romanian population also represents a major risk for the pension funds because there are less youth working to sustain more and more pensioners.
Last month, INS also warned less than 180,000 babies were born in 2013, the lowest birth rate since the Second World War, pointing out the phenomenon is likely to continue on a long term. “To replace the population on the same level we should have 2.2 children per woman. The current level is 1.4 children per woman” Tudorel Andrei, explained.
Official numbers show that 178,000 children were born last year. By comparison, in 1990, the first communist-free year, there had been almost 315,000 babies born. Until 2011, the first year with full impact of austerity measures which also envisaged mothers’ indemnities, the number never fell under 200,000. And the decline will not stop, Andrei also underlined.