This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Angst of an Aging France

In response to the aging of the French population, President Sarkozy has proposed raising the minimum retirement age from 60 to 62. The result, of course, has been massive public outrage accompanied by union-organized strikes and disruption especially of fuel supplies. I do not pretend to fully understand the French pension system, which appears to be different from the US plan in several ways, particularly in the number of years that a person must work before qualifying for a pension (40 years in France, proposed to rise to 42), compared to 10 in the US. Nonetheless, like most countries, it is a pay-as-you-go plan and that is the rub--too few young workers relative to retirees equals not enough money to go around, especially when those retirees are living longer than ever, and especially when the French have the highest percentage of young retirees in Europe. The French Parliament will vote on the extended retirement age this week, and it is expected to pass, despite the outcry against it.

UPDATE: The French Parliament did sign the legislation on October 27th, although President Sarkozy has yet to sign it, so more demonstrations are planned in the meantime...

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