Although the next census in Greece will not take place before 2021, the National Statistical Authority confirmed the shrinking of the Greek population.
According to official data, released by the end of 2016, showed that the country’s population amounted to 10,783,748 persons in January, a 0,68 decrease since January 2015.
The decline is attributed to the combined effect of low birth rate and rising migration. During the year, the number of deaths (at 121,212) outweighed those born in Greece (at 91,847), resulting to a decrease of 29,365 persons. Another 44,905 are due to the net migration outcome; despite the large people movement, the number of people migrating to Greece amounted to 64,446, far behind the 109,351 who left the country as part of the recent ‘brain drain’ phenomenon.
What is even more concerning is the fact that the Greek population is ageing. According to the authority, the Greek population aged 0 to 14 years old amounted to 14.4 per cent of the total population at the end of 2016. By comparison, 21.3 per cent of the total population was aged 65 years old and above. The majority of the population, amounting to 64.3 per cent, was aged between 15 and 64 years old.
Both reasons for this alarming trend are largely after-effects of the ongoing crisis. With chronic unemployment on the rise and no sign of financial recovery in sight, Greeks are looking for opportunity outside the country. As for those left behind, they are not very eager to reproduce. According to a 2015 study of the Greek National Social Research Centre, the fertility rate has hit record lows of 1.1 births to 1.3 births per woman. This decline in fertility rate is largely attributed to the uncertainty that is looming over the nation, after seven years of a crisis that seems to have no end. Austerity has resulted to one in four Greeks facing unemployment and made households unable to make ends meet, which in turn and has made family planning a challenge.