Projecting Europe’s Metro Population Growth from 2021‒2100
European cities have a storied history as global destinations, both for tourism and for immigration.
Despite lengthy histories, they are not immune to the global shifts in population patterns or urbanization. Even though the majority of the EU’s population already lives in urban areas, Europe’s urbanization rate is expected to rise to 84% by 2050.
However, not all cities are subject to that same growth. This visual from Gilbert Fontana uses data from Eurostat and breaks down the expected EU population growth rates for the 50 largest metropolitan regions from 2021 to 2100.
Drivers of Growth
It may come as no surprise that economic prosperity is a key driver of population growth.
Countries like Sweden, France, and Ireland are expected to see large swaths of population growth. Sweden’s largest three cities, Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö, are forecasted to experience the largest population growth by 2100 in percentage terms.
|Metro region||Country||Population (2021)||Population (2100)||Growth rate (%)|
|Málaga - Marbella||Spain||1,696,463||1,797,664||5.9%|
|Murcia - Cartagena||Spain||1,513,076||1,599,781||5.7%|
|Alicante - Elche||Spain||1,895,192||1,911,954||0.8%|
|Lille - Dunkirk - Valenciennes||France||2,607,879||2,628,268||0.7%|
This forecasted growth underscores the strength of Sweden’s economy and global identity, with a very high GDP-per-capita and consistently ranking highly in economic freedom and prosperity.
Europe’s largest population growth in raw numbers, meanwhile, is expected in Spain. The populations of both Madrid and Barcelona are each forecasted to grow by more than 1.6 million people between 2021 and 2100.
On the flip side, some of the regions with the lowest levels of expected growth face challenging economic environments.
For example, Greece is still suffering from the fallout of its sovereign debt crisis in the 2010s, which significantly harmed economic prospects for everyday people. Even though many working-class people have already left the country, Athens is currently expected to see a further population reduction of 1.3 million people or 38% of its population by the end of the century.
This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.
Charted: Retirement Age by Country
We chart current and effective retirement ages for 45 countries, revealing some stark regional differences.
Charted: Retirement Age by Country
The retirement landscape can look completely different depending on what country you’re in. And charting the retirement age by country reveals a lot of differences in the the makeup of a labor force, both for economic and cultural reasons.
This graphic delves into the current and effective retirement ages across 45 nations in 2020, based on comprehensive data from the OECD 2021 report.
Defining Retirement Ages
Before we dive into the numbers, let’s clarify the measurements used by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD):
- The current retirement age is the age at which individuals can retire without penalty to pension after completing a full career starting from age 22.
- The effective retirement age refers to the average age of exit from the labor force for workers aged 40 years or more.
Many countries have seen workers effectively retire earlier or later than the current retirement age. This variance can arise due to a multitude in factors including differences in career start ages, some industries offering earlier retirements or benefits for later commitments, or countries facilitating different workforce exits due to market demands and policies.
Some people also choose to retire early due to personal reasons or a lack of available work, receiving a smaller pension or in some cases forgoing it entirely. Likewise, some people choose to stay employed if they are able to find work.
Retirement Age by Country in 2020
Here’s a snapshot of the current and effective retirement ages by country in 2020:
|🇨🇷 Costa Rica||62||67||62|
|🇨🇿 Czech Republic||64||63||62|
|🇰🇷 Korea, Republic of||62||66||65|
|🇳🇿 New Zealand||65||68||66|
|🇬🇧 United Kingdom||66||64||63|
|🇺🇸 United States||66||65||N/A|
|🇪🇺 European Union (Average)||64||63||N/A|
|🇨🇳 China (People's Republic of)||60||66||61|
|🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||47||59||N/A|
|🇿🇦 South Africa||60||60||56|
Three countries had the highest current retirement age at 67 years, Iceland, Israel, and Norway, but all had slightly lower effective retirement ages on average. On the flip side, Saudi Arabia had the lowest current retirement age at only 47 years with full pension benefits. Only Türkiye at 52 years was close, and notably both had much higher effective retirement ages on average.
Discrepancies between different regions are clear across the board. Many Asian countries including China, India, and South Korea have official minimum retirement ages in the early 60s and late 50s, but see workers stay in the workforce well into their late 60s. Meanwhile, most European countries as well as the U.S. and Canada have more workers retire earlier than minimum retirement ages on average.
Almost all of the countries with measured effective retirement ages for women also saw them exit the workforce earlier than men. This can be the result of cultural gender norms, labor force participation rates, and even the setup of pension systems in different countries.
The five exceptions in the dataset where women retired later than men? Argentina, Estonia, Finland, France, and Luxembourg.
Looking to the Future
In 2023, France sparked controversy by raising its early retirement age by two years. This decision triggered widespread strikes and riots and ignited debates about the balance between economic sustainability and individual well-being.
Given aging demographics in many developed countries and a continued need for labor, this isn’t expected to be the only country to reassess retirement. The OECD projects a two-year increase in the average effective retirement age by the mid-2060s.
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