International Day of Older Persons: Nearly 27 million people aged 80 or over in the EU

Almost 27 million people aged 80 or over were living in the European Union (EU), 7 million more than in 2005. An increase in both their absolute number and their share in total population is observed in nearly every EU Member State.

The rising share of elderly people in the EU (from 4.0% in 2005 to 5.3% in 2015) means that in 2015 one in every 20 persons living in the EU was aged 80 or over. The ageing of the population structure is, at least partly, the result of an increasing life expectancy, which grew at the age of 80 from 8.4 years in 2004 to 9.5 years in 2014. Although their proportion shrank between 2005 and 2015, women still accounted for around two-thirds of elderly people in the EU. This overrepresentation of women among people aged 80 or over is observed in all EU Member States.

On the occasion of the International Day of Older Persons, celebrated each year on 1st October, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, published demographic indicators on elderly people living in the EU.

People aged 80 can expect to live the longest in France

At EU level, life expectancy at the age of 80 stood at 9.5 years in 2014. People aged 80 in 2014 could expect to live at least 11 years more in France, followed by Spain (10.4 years), Luxembourg (10.1 years) and Italy (10.0 years). At the opposite end of the scale, the lowest life expectancy at the age of 80 was recorded in Bulgaria (7.0 years), Romania (7.6 years), Croatia (7.7 years), Hungary and Slovakia (both 7.9 years).

This means that there is a 4-year gap across the EU as regard life expectancy at the age of 80. Compared with 2004, life expectancy in the EU at the age of 80 rose by 1.1 year in the last decade (from 8.4 years to 9.5 years). A similar trend is observed in all Member States, with gains in life expectancy ranging from a bit over half a year in Sweden (0.6 year), Bulgaria, Hungary and Finland (all 0.7 year) to more than one and a half years in Romania (1.9 year), Estonia, Spain and France (all 1.6 year).

Highest proportion of people aged 80 or over in Italy and Greece

In general, Southern Member States registered the highest proportions of elderly people. In 2015, the highest shares of people aged 80 or over were indeed recorded in Italy (6.5%) and Greece (6.3%), followed by Spain (5.9%), France (5.8%) and Portugal (5.7%). In contrast, Ireland and Slovakia (both 3.1%) as well as Cyprus (3.2%) recorded the lowest proportions of elderly people in their population.

Malta ranks in at 24 with a 4% proportion of the population of people aged 80 or over

Breaking the trend of Southern Member States, Malta registers only a 4% proportion of the population of people aged 80 or over, one of the lowest when compared to the rest of the EU member states, preceding only Poland, Cyprus, Ireland and Slovakia.