The ageing of Europe, also known as the greying of Europe, is a demographic phenomenon in Europe characterized by a decrease in fertility, a decrease in mortality rate, and a higher life expectancy among European populations. Low birth rates and higher life expectancy contribute to the transformation of Europe's population pyramid shape. The most significant change is the transition towards a much older population structure, resulting in a decrease in the proportion of the working age while the number of the retired population increases. The total number of the older population is projected to increase greatly within the coming decades, with rising proportions of the post-war baby-boom generations reaching retirement. This will cause a high burden on the working age population as they provide for the increasing number of the older population.
Throughout history many states have worked to keep high birth rates in order to moderate taxes, more economic activity and more troops for their military.
Population ageing in Europe is caused primarily by two factors: declining fertility rates and increased life expectancy. Europe's fertility rates have been less than the 2.1 children per woman (standard) replacement level and are projected to remain below the replacement level in the future. People are living longer with projections of average life expectancy reaching 84.6 years for men and 89.1 for women by 2060, an increase of 7.9 years of life for men and 6.6 years of life for women compared to 2010.
The causes of population ageing vary among countries.
Mainly all European nations are going through long term downtrends in fertility, and ageing in their population. The trends that are demographic have damaging consequences for the economy in Europe. Economic polices will not solve the issue that is facing Europe's economy, only a demographic shift will solve the issue. In 2014, one in five Western Europeans was 65 years or older, and by 2030 one in four will be that age demographic. This is an issue due to the early ages of retirement for these countries and the pay as you go pension system.That is why change needs to occur in the following three areas. The 3 board policy that have been considered are: childbearing that is encouraged (marriage), the big increase of immigration of working aged people. reformed policy (that is more general) in order to improve the optimistic result of these trends.