Nearly 27 million people aged 80 or over in the European Union

Nearly 27 million people aged 80 or over in the European Union

Nearly 27 million people aged 80 or over in the European Union

The FINANCIAL -- In 2015, almost 27 million people aged 80 or over (hereafter "elderly people") were living in the European Union (EU), 7 million more than in 2005.

An increase in both their absolute number and their share in total population is observed in nearly every EU Member State. The rising share of elderly people in the EU (from 4.0% in 2005 to 5.3% in 2015) means that in 2015 one in every 20 persons living in the EU was aged 80 or over. The ageing of the population structure is, at least partly, the result of an increasing life expectancy, which grew at the age of 80 from 8.4 years in 2004 to 9.5 years in 2014.

Although their proportion shrank between 2005 and 2015, women still accounted for around two-thirds of elderly people in the EU. This overrepresentation of women among people aged 80 or over is observed in all EU Member States.

On the occasion of the International Day of Older Persons, celebrated each year on 1st October, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, publishes demographic indicators on elderly people living in the EU. 

People aged 80 can expect to live the longest in France

At EU level, life expectancy at the age of 80 stood at 9.5 years in 2014. People aged 80 in 2014 could expect to live at least 11 years more in France, followed by Spain (10.4 years), Luxembourg (10.1 years) and Italy (10.0 years). At the opposite end of the scale, the lowest life expectancy at the age of 80 was recorded in Bulgaria (7.0 years), Romania (7.6 years), Croatia (7.7 years), Hungary and Slovakia (both 7.9 years). This means that there is a 4-year gap across the EU as regard life expectancy at the age of 80.

Compared with 2004, life expectancy in the EU at the age of 80 rose by 1.1 year in the last decade (from 8.4 years to 9.5 years). A similar trend is observed in all Member States, with gains in life expectancy ranging from a bit over half a year in Sweden (0.6 year), Bulgaria, Hungary and Finland (all 0.7 year) to more than one and a half years in Romania (1.9 year), Estonia, Spain and France (all 1.6 year).

Women aged 80 in Luxembourg can expect to live almost 3 years more than men

In every EU Member State, life expectancy at the age of 80 is higher for women than for men. In 2014, the largest gender gap was recorded in Luxembourg (11.2 years' life expectancy for women compared with 8.5 years for men, or a 2.7 year difference), followed by France (2.5 years), Estonia (2.2 years), Italy (2.1 years), Spain and Portugal (both 2.0 years). At EU level, life expectancy at the age of 80 stood at 10.2 years for women and at 8.5 years for men (a 1.7 year gap)

Compared with 2004, life expectancy has increased more rapidly for women than for men in a majority of Member States, notably in Estonia (where women gained almost one year of life expectancy more than men) and Hungary (gain of half a year). In contrast, the gap between men and women has narrowed in the past ten years in eight Member States, in particular in Greece and Cyprus, where men gained almost half a year (0.4 year) of life expectancy over women.

In Baltic EU Member States, about three quarters of 80+ are women

In every EU Member State, women were a significant majority among elderly people, with proportions ranging in 2015 from just below 60% in Cyprus (58.9%) and Greece (59.2%) to more than 70% in Hungary (70.5%) and the three EU Baltic Member States – Lithuania (73.4%), Estonia (75.2%) and Latvia (75.9%).

Compared with 2005 however, the share of women among people aged 80 or over decreased in a majority of Member States, with the most remarkable falls being registered in Luxembourg (from 71.6% in 2005 to 64.2% in 2015, or -7.4 percentage points – pp), Germany (-7.2 pp), Austria (-6.2 pp), Finland (-5.3 pp), the United Kingdom (-4.5 pp) and the Netherlands (-4.4 pp).

Highest proportion of people aged 80 or over in Italy and Greece

In general, Southern Member States registered the highest proportions of elderly people. In 2015, the highest shares of people aged 80 or over were indeed recorded in Italy (6.5%) and Greece (6.3%), followed by Spain (5.9%), France (5.8%) and Portugal (5.7%). In contrast, Ireland and Slovakia (both 3.1%) as well as Cyprus (3.2%) recorded the lowest proportions of elderly people in their population.

Compared with 2005, the share of people aged 80 or over rose by 2015 in all Member States, except Sweden. The largest increase was registered in Greece (from 3.9% in 2005 to 6.3% in 2015, or +2.4 pp), ahead of Lithuania (+2.1 pp), Romania (+2.0 pp), Estonia and Latvia (both +1.9 pp), Croatia, Portugal and Slovenia (all +1.8 pp), Spain (+1.7 pp) and Italy (+1.6 pp).