Turkey will join super-aged countries in 22 years

Despite Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s policy aiming to keep Turkey’s demographic window open, Turkey will join super-aged nations in 22 years, Euronews reported on Friday.

President Erdoğan, seeing the decline in fertility rates as a threat to Turkey’s economic development, repeatedly urges families to have at least three children

However, fertility rates are declining fast, particularly in the western provinces of Turkey, while the rate of ageing is rapidly increasing, a trend which may lead to severe socio-economic problems.

Total fertility rate fell from 2.38 in 2001 to 2.07 in 2017, a level below the replacement rate of 2.10 needed for zero population growth. 

Experts note that the rate of ageing is also high in Turkey compared to European countries and warn that this may lead to serious problems due to underdeveloped social services in the country, Euronews said. 

The main threat is not the risk of rapid ageing, but rapid ageing without creating a demographic dividend -the window of opportunity for a nation to enjoy rapid economic growth and human development-, as a significant portion of the population in Turkey is outside the labour force, sociologist Özgür Arun noted.

“The main problem for us is that our wealth does not increase at the same rate as ageing. Ageing without economic wealth is a problem,” Arun said noting that while demographic transition took 115 years in France and 85 years in Sweden, Turkey’s transition will only take 15 years.