Cyprus’ population is ageing at a worrying pace, as people over 65 now outnumber those under the age of 15, said MPs.
This creates a huge tax burden in the future for those in work to take care of those at an advanced age.
During a House committee meeting looking into the island’s demographics, MPs were told that according to the latest census, citizens over 65 in 2021 were 16.7% of the population, compared to 13.3% in 2011.
The percentage of people under 15, on the other hand, slightly dropped to 15.9% in 2021 from 16.1%.
Due to the ever-increasing cost of living, Cyprus’ ageing population was attributed to an increase in life expectancy, standing at 80.98 years (2019), and couples’ unwillingness to have more than one child.
On average, women give birth to their first child at 30, compared to 24 just a decade ago.
A Finance Ministry official told MPs that Cypriot households are shrinking in numbers.
According to the latest census, the average number of household members has dropped from 2.8 in 2011 to 2.6 in 2021.
In the ten years between the two censuses, the number of Cyprus residents increased by 193,000, which is also attributed to the presence of foreigners.
In Paphos, the population increased by 38%.
The Family Planning Association’s Demetris Parperis said that to reverse the declining birth trend, infrastructures and action must be created to support families, such as implementing all-day schools.
He added that giving allowances goes a long way in encouraging families to have children, but the government needs to hear their concerns in this time of high inflation and challenges.