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Právo: Czech population rapidly ageing

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Prague, May 7 (CTK) – The Czech population is rapidly aging and the trend will keep intensifying, while Czechs over 65 now make up the most dynamically growing population group, daily Pravo wrote on Monday.

Last year, the population number of the Czech Republic crossed the limit of 10.6 million for the first time in its history. Out of the number, there are two million elderly people.

In 1950, there were only 735,000 people over 65.

“The elderly have the biggest proportion in the total population in the Hradec Kralove Region,” Radek Holub, from the Czech Statistical Office (CSU) demographic statistics department, is quoted as saying.

The age composition of the population has an increasing influence on public expenditures.

There are growing costs of the health and social care. Some 400 billion crowns are paid as pensions alone from the state budget annually.

Since the life expectancy is growing, Czechs spend on average in retirement 24 years.

At the same time, the number of the young is falling. Over the past 15 years, the number of those under 30 has decreased by 750,000 to 3.3 million, now creating about one-third of the population.

When drafting economic prognoses, the Czech Republic must reckon with the fact that its population is ageing, which will continue, the Convergence Programme, approved by the government and submitted to the European Commission, has warned.

It estimates that the costs of health alone will increase by one-fifth and when it comes to long-term care by as many as 116 percent by 2070.

The number of the population over 65 compared to that of the productive age between 15 and 64 is to double and reach roughly 56 percent by 2060, the programme said.

“The prolongation of the age at retirement has only stabilised the pension system,” Lukas Kovanda, the chief economist of the company Cyrrus, is quoted as saying.

“However, we cannot avoid subsequent reforms,” Kovanda said.

The population ageing also has some more impact than that expressed by the growing costs of social services.

The population ageing most affects the “sandwich generation.” These are the parents who had children in their thirties and they support them during their studies, while they must provide care to their parents, too.

This constitutes a tremendous financial, working and mental burden.

Due to the growing life span, the people who could retire have to keep working because they have to pay for the health care and social services for their still living parents.

As a result, there are tens of thousands of elderlies who provide care to even older people, Pravo writes.

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