Youth and children in Europe set the new perspectives for the decades to come

European Parliament. Conference: Children on the move: will the EU deliver on its commitments? From left to right: Cecilia Malstrom, Salvatore Parata , Farah Abdi Abdullahi. (EC Audiovisual Services 19/2/2014).

European Parliament. Conference: Children on the move: will the EU deliver on its commitments? From left to right: Cecilia Malstrom, Salvatore Parata, Farah Abdi Abdullahi. (EC Audiovisual Services 19/2/2014).

The share of children of less than 15% in a population is a powerful and polyvalent indicator. For one thing, it accurately predicts the strength or the frailness of the country’s most valuable asset for the next decades, which is its human capital in productive age. The obvious value of the related statistics led Eurostat, the EU statistical service, to undertake extensive and exhaustive work on this subject. The result of this endeavor was published last Thursday. It’s a memorable study focusing on facts and figures about youth and children in the EU, entitled “What it means to be young in the European Union today”.

Fewer children

In this context the most important variable that Eurostat followed is the share of children in the total population as it evolved during the past twenty years (1994-2013). Given that all EU countries have reached a certain level of economic development which guarantees basic amenities, one would expect that the most affluent European societies would be the most fertile in this respect. It’s not like that though. Eurostat also examined the average age at which the young people (15-29) leave the parental household in the 28 member states. In this front there were no surprises. In the most advanced and affluent Nordic member states the young leave the parental household earlier than elsewhere in Europe. Let’s take one thing at a time.

The most important finding of this research work was that overall Europe raises fewer and fewer children. In 1994 the share of children of less than 15 years was on the average 18.6% in all member states. Twenty years later this percentage dropped to 15.6%. Only Denmark escaped from this impairment. Eurostat predicts however that this percentage will continue decreasing to just 15% by the year 2050. Is this enough to support a strong work force? Barely so. Most certainly Europe would need to ‘import’ an indeterminate number of more and more immigrants, if it wants to safeguard its main asset that is its human capital.

Surprise, surprise!

Now let’s examine what happened in the various member states. As mentioned above one would expect that the most affluent member states would emerge ahead of others, regarding the share of children in the population. Nevertheless reality was different and statistics confirmed it. Understandably Eurostat must have been very meticulous in calculating that.

Germany, one of the richest member states, came to be at the bottom of the list, being the less productive nation as far as human reproduction is concerned. In 2014 Germany showed the smallest share of children (0-14) in the population amongst the 28 member states with a mere 13.1%. During the same year Ireland proved to be the country with the largest share of children with 22%. Twenty years ago, in 1994 this country also posed the largest share of children in the population (25.2%).

Germany looses children

To be noted that all along this era Ireland suffered from long periods of severe economic difficulties. Still, economic troubles didn’t prevent its population to be very fertile in producing the next generations, according to Eurostat. Probably the well known religious devotion of the Irish people may have played an important role here.

Regarding Germany’s poor record in children raising, it may be one more indication of the fast growing incomes inequality in this country. As a result, an increasing number of young couples are deprived of the economic fundamentals to raise children. The young are the main victims of incomes inequality. The combination of high rents and the very low starting wages for youths hits primarily the young couples, in their prime age to have children. That’s why the German youth doesn’t leave the parental home before the age of 24-25, despite a different tradition. German youths used to leave their family household soon after accomplishing secondary education, by assuming employment, apprenticeship or continuing studies in another city.

Going away

This brings us to the next part of Eurostat’s study devoted to the age when the young Europeans (15-29) decide to leave the parental home. In this front Eurostat turned out no surprising statistical results. As noted above, in the Nordic and more affluent countries the young tend to leave the home of their parents very early, at the age of 19.6 in Sweden, 21 in Denmark and 21.9 in Finland. It’s a bit of a surprise though that the young German chaps (males) don’t abandon the security of their parental household before the age of 25.

The picture is totally different in the south. The average age to leave parents’ home is in Croatia 31.9, in Slovakia 30.7, in Malta 30.1, in Italy 29.9 and in Greece 29.3. Of course, the shocking unemployment rates that prevail in the south are a factor of paramount importance in this respect. In the Nordic countries youth unemployment is minimal compared with the massive rates of the jobless young persons prevailing in Greece, Italy and elsewhere in Europe’s south.

How do they communicate?

Last but not least Eurostat found that more than 80% of young people in the EU participate in social networks. More precisely “In 2014, almost 9 out of 10 persons (87%) aged 16-29 used the internet on a daily basis in the EU”. The young access the internet in a different way than their parents. According to the same source “…almost three-quarters (74%) of young people in the EU used a mobile phone to access the internet, compared with less than half (44%) of the total population”. In conclusion, the internet is now built-in factor in the way of life of the young.

There is no doubt that being young in Europe today is a lot different than it was twenty years ago. Children and young people of today have a distinctly different way of life, compared to the previous generations. They have much less standard life and employment prospects than their parents. The falling share of children (0-15) in the population, the skyrocketing unemployment rates of the young (16-29) and the way the youth communicate today inevitably set the new social, economic and political perspectives for the decades to come.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Inflation and interest rates indicate urgent need for action

Manufacturing is finally entering a new era

Millions of Bangladeshi children at risk from climate crisis, warns UNICEF

Could robot leaders do better than our current politicians?

8th Euronest Assembly: the future of relations with Eastern partners

The metamorphosis of the categorical imperative in medical students

FROM THE FIELD: Hardy seeds bear fruit to protect Colombia’s environment

Peace will be ‘paramount’ issue for incoming Afghan Government: UN mission chief

G20 GDP growth nudges up to 1.0% in the second quarter of 2018

New Disability Inclusion Strategy is ‘transformative change we need’, says Guterres

New chapters in EU-China trade disputes

Postal workers in France are helping elderly people fight loneliness

Terrorist content online: companies to be given just one hour to remove it

Electronic cigarettes – The alternative we’ve been looking for?

Merkel had it her way with the refugees & immigrants but can Greece and Turkey deliver?

Access to health in the developping world

ILO: Progress on gender equality at work remains inadequate

The economic cost of anti-vaccination movements in Italy

Canada grants asylum for Saudi teen who fled family: UNHCR

Getting vaccinated should just be considered a human right?

EP Brexit Steering Group calls on the UK to overcome the deadlock

What India’s route to universal health coverage can teach the world

“Working together to make a change at the COP 21 in Paris”, an article by Ambassador Yang of the Chinese Mission to EU

UN Mission in Afghanistan gravely concerned about ill-treatment of prisoners by Taliban, following first-hand testimony

The New Year 2016 will not be benevolent to Europe

UN envoy commends successful conclusion of Guinea-Bissau presidential election

Hydrogen power is here to stay. How do we convince the public that it’s safe?

Eurozone retail sales fall shows recession

How robotics can help humanitarians bridge the digital divide

4 ways to make your wardrobe more sustainable

Not faith, ‘but those who manipulate the faithful’ driving wedge between religions, UN-backed forum in Baku told

Press conference by EC Vice-Presidents Valdis Dombrovskis (left) and Jyrki Katainen, on the Commission's proposals in the framework of the financial union (Source: EC Audiovisual Services / Copyright: EU, 2018 / Photo by Georges Boulougouris)

EU Finance ministers agree on new banking capital rules and move closer to Banking Union

A Sting Exclusive: “Europe must be more ambitious in COP21 and lead on climate finance and sustainable development”, Green UK MEP Jean Lambert points out from Brussels

Sudan: ‘Violence must stop’, says UNICEF chief, ‘gravely concerned’ over 19 child deaths since military backlash

Deal on protecting workers from exposure to harmful substances

The energy industry is changing. Are governments switched on?

Youth Parliament to finalise millennials´ priorities for future of the EU

Syria’s Idlib ‘on the brink’ of a nightmare, humanitarian chiefs warn, launching global solidarity campaign

Guterres says justice must be done following deadly Burkina Faso convoy attack

The European Sting @ the European Business Summit 2014 – Where European Business and Politics shape the future

Gender parity can boost economic growth. Here’s how

YO!FEST ENGAGES 8,000 YOUNG EUROPEANS IN FUTURE OF EU

FROM THE FIELD: Watering the parched farmland of São Tomé and Príncipe

Asia and Pacific on course to miss all Sustainable Development Goals, says UN region chief

What the US and the world can expect from the 8 November election?

JADE at European Business Summit 2015

Rising inequality affecting more than two-thirds of the globe, but it’s not inevitable: new UN report

UN forum to bring ‘big space data’ benefits to disaster response in Africa

Electronic or conventional cigarettes – which is safer?

The global liberal order is in trouble – can it be salvaged, or will it be replaced?

Civilian death toll continues to mount in Syria, UN relief chief tells Security Council

Brexit update: Will the EU grant extention to Britain preventing economic chaos?

4 big trends for the sharing economy in 2019

UN Security Council welcomes results of Mali’s presidential elections

Single-use plastics: New EU rules to reduce marine litter

5 things to know about the exploding world of pro gaming

How to make primary healthcare a favourable career choice for medical students: Strategies and reflections

Why trust and technology go hand-in-hand

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s