State of the Nordic Region 2018

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State of the Nordic Region 2018 gives you a unique look behind the scenes of the world’s most integrated region, comprised of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, along with Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Åland. The report presents a series of facts and figures showing the current state of play within core socioeconomic sectors, including demography, economy, the labour force and education. In addition, you can read about the latest developments within the Nordic bioeconomy, get the status of Nordic digitalisation as well as the latest on health and welfare, plus culture and the arts. State of the Nordic Region 2018 is published by the Nordic Council of Ministers and produced by Nordregio, an international research center for regional development and planning established by the Nordic Council of Ministers, along with the Nordic Welfare Center and Nordic Agency for Cultural Policy Analysis.



Population growth and ageing - Past, present and future trends

The demographic situation in Europe is characterised by two main trends, population growth and ageing. Since 2007, the population of the European Union has increased slowly from 500 million to 512 million people (Eurostat, 2017a). The old-age dependency ratio, defined as the size of age groups 65 and older as a share of the working-age population between 15 and 64 years, increased from 25.2% to 29.3% (Eurostat, 2017b). Thus, there are now 3.4 persons of working age for every person aged 65 and older in the European Union. Both trends have been particularly pronounced in the Nordic Region. Here, the old-age dependency ratio has increased faster and population growth has been stronger than in many other European countries. Migration has been the major source of population increase. These general trends however mask considerable variation within and across the Nordic countries. Municipalities and regions face diverse demographic challenges with each, potentially, requiring tailor-made policy responses. In the following sections, the current and expected future trends in population growth or decline and population ageing will be described, from both a regional and a municipal perspective.


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