Thursday, June 7, 2007

Population decline endangers Romania's economy

BUCHAREST, June 6 (Xinhua) -- The continuous decline of Romania's population over the last two decades will have disastrous long-term effects on the country's economy, local media reported on Wednesday.

Romania's population has decreased by almost 1.5 million since 1990, representing 6.5 percent of the population, due to a low birth rate, emigration to work abroad, and a rising death rate, a study conducted by the Demographic Research Center of the National Institute for Economic Research (INCE) at the Romanian Academy showed.

"In the short term, some 3-4 years, the decline is an advantage for the economy, as the state will pay less money for social security," said Mircea Ciumara, general manager of the INCE and former finance minister. "In 20 years' time, however, we could be facing a disastrous situation, because as the population continues to decline, the share of old people will rise, with insufficient money to cover pensions."

According to the study, Romania's population will drop by almost 23 percent by 2050, to 16.7 million inhabitants, if the birth level remains the same as that in the last few years.

The United Nations predicts that Romania will only have 14.9 million inhabitants by the middle of this century.

What is more serious, said experts, is that the share of old people will rise from 19.3 percent, at the end of 2005, to 39 percent by 2050, which means there will be 85 elderly people among100 adults, compared with the current levels of 34 among 100.

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