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Spain sees divorce in over-65's doubles in last 12 months

Source: GNom News - Sat 4th Oct 2014
Spain sees divorce in over-65's doubles in last 12 months

The number of couples aged over 65 who have separated or divorced has doubled in the last year in Spain, according to the national institute of statistics (INE).

And Spain has the 4th-highest proportion of pension-age residents among the population on the planet.

Most-recent census figures date back to the end of 2011, when 17.3% of Spain's headcount was aged over 65, with 3.5 million in total being aged over 80.

These figures show that in 2001, a total of 1.36% per cent of couples in their late 60s or older had split up, but by 2011, this had risen to 3.17%, having more than doubled.

Although 60% of the over-65s live in couples and the number of widows and widowers fell from 33.2% in 1991 to 31% in 2011 then to less than 29% now, sole occupants in Spain are much less commonly found than in other European nations

In Spain, 21% live alone, compared with 40% in northern Europe, and those who are single, widowed, divorced or separated normally live with other family members.

Average life expectancy in Spain – several years younger for men than for women – is 82.29 years, compared to the typical figure for the rest of Europe of 79.6 years.

By the year 2020, the whole of the ‘baby-boomer' generation will be of State pension age – those born in 1955 will turn 65 that year – and by the year 2050, a total of 36% of Spain's population, or over a third, will be aged over 65.

Spain's birth rate is also plummeting continually and has been for years, especially more recently due to the financial crisis and lack of job security, meaning experts are already beginning to fear that there will not be enough working-age people in the country providing taxes and national insurance to keep the economy afloat.

New generations are also needed to fund the pensions, healthcare and disability or care benefits for retirees and the elderly, and when the latter population outnumbers the former, the State pays out more than it earns.

With a birth rate of 1.34 children per woman of fertile age in Spain – a figure much lower for Spaniards than for foreign women – and an average age of first-time motherhood of 31, not enough babies are being born to guarantee a new younger generation of workers and taxpayers.

But experts are also calling for a change in attitude to benefits paid to the over-65s – rather than being regarded as an expense, it should be considered an investment in creating employment, since industries catering for pensioners and especially the more elderly of them have already generated around 350,000 jobs a year.

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