STA, 5 November 2019 - Slovenia has joined the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing, thus becoming one of the EU reference sites that promote ageing solutions through bringing together civil societies, governmental organisations, industry and science.
The partnership includes 77 reference sites or ecosystems that aim to improve the health and life of the elderly as well as the entire communities, coming up with and promoting innovative strategies.
"Slovenia's contribution to this partnership will be an improved collaboration of various activities," said Alenka Rožaj Brvar, the head of the Slovenian Innovation Hub, at a press conference on Tuesday.
She pointed at increasing population ageing and related challenges, such as chronic diseases, adding that a more systematic plan for tackling these issues should be implemented.
Marjan Sedmak, the head of the Ljubljana Pensioners' Union and the former head of AGE Platform Europe, a European network of organisations focusing on the needs of the elderly, pointed out that another issue posed by ageing was loneliness, which is being partly tackled by senior activity centres, but there was still room for improvement.
Rožaj Brvar also highlighted the business opportunities of the silver or longevity economy targeting older consumers, including in real estate, health care and prevention, tourism, health food, home care equipment products and assistive devices.
One of Slovenia's possible strategies for tapping this potential is a project called the Academic Village which strives for setting up a community of retired professors and researchers near a new university campus at Brdo pri Kranju in northern Slovenia.
According to the former chancellor of the Ljubljana University and an advocate of the Slovenian Innovation Hub Stane Pejovnik, the community would promote maintaining ties between the young and the elderly as well as the knowledge exchange between them.
Pejovnik also listed the hub's other project ideas, including building two new faculties, a proton therapy centre for tumour treatment and the so-called medicine valley which would come with a price tag of a few hundred million euros, adding that securing funds for such projects is one of the main challenges of Slovenia's innovative initiatives in this field.
Meanwhile, the director of the Provita company Gorazd Hladnik presented an example of good practices in health management - the Health Master app, a Slovenian platform which promotes keeping a personal health record and introduces new ways of patient-doctor exchanges using information and communication technologies.
STA, 30 September 2019 - As a world day dedicated to the elderly is to be marked around the world, Slovenian organisations are pointing to the problems brought by the population ageing, including the need for better regulation of long-term care, calling for higher pensions to take pensioners above the at-risk-of-poverty threshold.
Marked on 1 October, this year's International Day of Older Persons runs under the motto The Journey to Age Equality, aiming to ensure equal opportunities and reduce inequalities of outcome regardless of personal circumstances.
The first issue to be pointed out by the Association of Pensioners (ZDUS) ahead of the event is that by 2025, the minimum pension for 40 years of pensionable service, which currently stands at EUR 531, should be above the at-risk-of-poverty threshold, which last year stood at EUR 662.
The association has also called for a law on long-term care to adopted as soon as possible, which is something that the Union of Social Institutes has also been pointing to, saying that the government has "forgotten about the elderly" in the budget for the next two years.
"It has been postponing to a distant future the eagerly-awaited systemic regulation of long-term care," the union said, adding that retirement homes were facing critical shortage of beds while the availability of home care was being reduced.
According to Jaka Bizjak of the union, there are no plans to establish a new public retirement home, while the availability of home care services is becoming the key developmental problem of Slovenian society, which is ageing at a fast pace.
He pointed to studies which say that only one out of four persons older than 75 will not be needing such services, and that the costs of related services and assistance for one out of ten such persons will be "sky high".
Policy-makers in the field of long-term care announce solutions leaning towards boosting care within the family and local community, but such forms of assistance are effective only in societies with a low full-time employment rate for women.
"One cannot avoid the impression that the state bets on care within the family only because it is cheaper for the budget, and is less interested in whether this is an appropriate solution given the actual needs and capacities."
The Ministry of Health, which is drafting the relevant law, expects that it will be ready for public debate by the end of the year, while final confirmation in parliament is expected by the end of the first half of 2020.
The UN as the sponsor of the international day has pointed to the steep growth in the number of older persons, with the highest rates expected in developing countries. The number of persons older than 60 is expected to stand at 1.4 billion by 2030.
This is why the organisation believes that more attention should be paid to the needs and problems faced by older persons. It believes that their potential contribution to society is important and that respect of their human rights should be at the core of these efforts.
Slovenia is no exception in the ageing trend, with the Statistics Office (SURS) noting ahead of International Day of Older Persons that life expectancy at birth is increasing, with almost one in five Slovenians being older than 65.
There were 413,054 persons aged 65 or older in Slovenia at the beginning of this year, which means this age group representing almost 20% of total population. Women represent a majority in this age group, and 161 out of the 189 centenarians are women.
SURS also notes that the number of older people is increasingly higher than the number of children. Currently, there are more than 131 older persons per 100 children, and the ratio is projected to stand at two to one by 2033.
The highest at-risk-of-poverty rate in Slovenia is recorded in persons aged 65 or older, 18.3%, while out of some 98,000 older persons who live below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold, 60,000 are retired women.
The employment rate in the group aged between 55 and 64 in Slovenia is among the lowest in the EU due to early retirement, but it is increasing in recent years. Almost 5,000 persons aged 65 or older were active in 2018, 73.3% of whom men.
The opening of this year's Festival for the Third Age, an annual event dedicated to raising issues related to ageing, coincides with International Day of Older Persons.
Running from Tuesday to Thursday, it will again look to connect young and old people, bringing a number of round table debates on topical issues, and being accompanied by a diverse educational and cultural programmes.
All our stories on demographics in Slovenia can be found here
STA, 11 September 2019 - The EU's statistics office Eurostat has projected that Slovenia will have a population of below 1.8 million in 2100, which is a 13% drop compared to 2018. Almost a third of the population in Slovenia is projected to be aged 65 or older at the end of the century.
The projection is part of the Eurostat's EUROPOP 2018 survey involving all EU member states, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, the national Statistics Office reported on Wednesday.
For Slovenia, it shows that the country's population is to increase until 2023, where it is projected to stand at 2,088 million, and then to start declining gradually.
On 1 January 2100, Slovenia is projected to have a population of 1,796,000, or 13% less than it had in 2018, which is the baseline year for the projection.
Slovenia's fertility rate is expected to gradually increase in the future, to stand in 2100 at 1.77, compared to today's rate of 1.61, meaning the total number of children born or likely to be born to a woman in her lifetime.
At the same time, life expectancy at birth is expected to increase, standing at 89 for boys and at 93 for girls born in Slovenia in 2100.
Despite the expected higher fertility rate, Slovenia's population is projected to grow older further. While persons aged 65 or older in Slovenia represented a 19.4% share of the entire population in 2018, this share is expected to stand at 32% in 2055, and at 31% in 2100.
The share of children (persons under 15) is expected to grow for a few years, and then to start to drop, reaching the lowest point in 2037, at 12.9%. Slow growth from that point on is projected, with the share expected to stand at 13.9% in 2100.
STA, 12 August 2019 - Slovenian youths are mostly satisfied with their lives, and they are better educated than their parents. But financially, they still feel the effects of the economic crisis and their position on the labour market is much more precarious, show statistics released ahead of International Youth Day.
There were 309,000 persons in Slovenia aged between 15 and 29 at the beginning of the year, more than half of whom were enrolled in education programmes. Just over 161,000 were employed, the Statistics Office says.
A plurality of young women worked in the services sector and in commerce, while young men were most commonly working in construction, maintenance of buildings, metalworking and similar professions.
Despite having work, youths are in a much more precarious position than older employees. As many as 46% had fixed-term contracts, compared to just 16% for the entire working population.
There were 16,000 unemployed persons in the 15-20 age group, which translates into a 9% unemployment rate, or four percentage points higher than the overall unemployment rate.
The average monthly gross wage for this group amounted to almost EUR 1,300 in 2018, or around three-quarters of the average gross wage for all employees in Slovenia last year.
Among the 309,000 persons in Slovenia aged between 15 and 29, only 5% were neither included in formal education programmes nor were they employed. This puts Slovenia among the most successful countries in this respect.
In the 2018/2019 school year, there were 73,000 secondary school students and 67,000 university students. Another 17,000 persons in this age group were enrolled in adult education programmes, which means that more than half of this age group was attending some form of school.
Last year, the share of persons with tertiary education in the 30-34 age group was 42.7%, up from 24.6% in 2005 and from 34.8% in 2010. The share has been constantly above 40% since 2013, the Statistics Office said.
The at-risk-of-poverty rate for this age group was 11.7%, slightly lower than that for the entire population in Slovenia (13.3%).
This age group is the most satisfied in general with their lives, with their average grade on a one-to-ten scale standing at 8.1 in a recent survey, well above the average of 7.3 for the entire population.
The Statistics Office published the data ahead of International Youth Day, marked on 12 August. It is an awareness day designated by the UN in 1999 in to draw attention to cultural and legal issues faced by youths.
While the UN places emphasis on education for this year's International Youth Day, the Slovenian Youth Council (MSS) has pointed to housing. It has also warned about the growing pessimism among the young regarding their prospects of becoming independent.
The organisation has told the STA that there was a lack of public apartments for young people and that market housing was getting increasingly expensive, even as young people cannot get bank loans.
The council is also critical of what it perceives as centralisation of the country, saying that "not all young people want to live in Ljubljana" and that the state encourages migration from rural areas.
Another challenge is the shortage of jobs for highly educated persons, the MSS said, noting that the current generation of young people will be the first after the Second World War whose quality of life is worse than that of their parents.
Tin Kampl, the head of the government Office for Youth agrees that young people today have more problems than the previous generations. He pointed to problems related to employment, housing and getting independent, which is "something out of reach for a majority of young people".
While noting that young people today had more knowledge and experience and more opportunities to participate in society, Kampl highlighted emigration for work or study which he said left a bitter aftertaste if it is necessity-driven.
According to a survey by the Nefiks institute for the promotion of informal education, as many as 44% of women in Slovenia aged between 20 and 35 sees going abroad as a solution if they fail to get a job in their own country.
The survey has found that only 47% of young women are satisfied with their current standard of living, while 44% are satisfied with their current job. Nefiks has noted that young women in Slovenia are proactive and flexible in job seeking.
With employment of young women connected with family planning, the survey has also shown that 44% of young women who participated in it do not plan a family or do not want to have a family. "Considering that the survey covers women in their fertile age, this is a high percentage," Nefiks said.
All our stories on demographics in Slovenia are here
We often report on Slovenia’s demographics at TSN, with regard to an aging population, the growing proportion of immigrants, and so on, but how does the country compare with the rest of Europe when it comes to overall size and the next 30 years?
Using data from a variety of sources, Facts Maps has put together a clear map of the projected changes in population for 41 countries in Europe. For copyright reasons we’ll just embed a small version here, which you can then click on to see the full sized version.
This suggests that quite dramatic changes are set to take place in Slovenia over the next 30 years, with the country forecast to see a 23.18% fall in population, from 2.079 million in 2017 to just 1.597 million in 2050. These figures predict that Slovenia will see the 5th biggest fall in population, in percentage terms over the coming three decades, “beaten” only by Estonia (-29.41%), Latvia (-35.86%), Lithuania (-37.65%) and Moldova (-44.16%). Of the 41 countries listed, only 14 are projected to see a growth in population, headed by Luxembourg (+48.37%), Ireland (+33.04%) and Iceland (+21.49%). Interestingly, two of Slovenia’s neighbours are also expected to grow: Austria (+4.27%) and Italy (+3.47). Both Croatia and Hungary will see declines, of -7.73% and 12.66%, respectively.
What are the causes? Facts Maps doesn’t say, but one can image a falling birth rate (see Slovenia’s Population Falls for 2nd Year Running, with More Deaths than Births) and emigration, although with regard to the latter it should be noted that net migration remains positive in Slovenia (and non-Slovenes now represent 6.9% of the population).
Slovenia’s aging population 1971 - 1961, in graphic form - see more here
And what about the implications? A smaller population, and a smaller one of working age, in particular, will put pressure on the tax base of the country while spending on pensions and healthcare will rise (see Population Ageing & Shrinking Present Serious Problems for Slovenia’s Future). One the positive side, at least for some, housing prices could fall along with demand.
STA, 30 July 2019 - Slovenia's population stood at 2,084,301 on 1 April, which is 3,400 more than at the start of January, showed the Statistics Office data on Tuesday. The increase however comes on account of a larger number of foreign citizens, with the number of Slovenian citizens in fact decreasing.
The number of Slovenian citizens dropped by 1,600 in the first quarter of 2019, while the number of foreign citizens grew by 5,000 to 143,192 and represented 6.9% of Slovenia's population.
The share of women among Slovenian citizens, which at the start of April stood at some 51%, has been on a slow decline for quite some time.
Some 34% of foreign citizens living in Slovenia are women. The share decreased by 1.4 percentage points on January last year after being on the rise for many years.
Slovenia also recorded a markedly positive net migration rate in the first quarter of 2019 - a record number of more than 4,800, while the natural increase was negative (changing from -2.1 per 1,000 population to -2.8 in a year).
Compared to the same period of 2018, the number of immigrants to Slovenia increased by 47% to 7,943 in the first quarter of 2019.
Positive net migration was recorded for foreign nationals (5,273 persons), while 429 Slovene citizens more emigrated from Slovenia than immigrated to it.
STA, 24 July 2019 - On an average day in 2018 there were 54 births and 56 deaths in Slovenia; 78 people immigrated, 37 people emigrated, there were 20 weddings and 6 divorces, show Statistical Office data.
There were 19,585 live births and 20,485 deaths, in what was the second year in a row with more deaths than births. Most children were born in the summer, while most deaths happened in the winter.
A total of 7,256 couples married in 2018, which is 12% more than in 2017. With as many as 1,100 couples marrying in June, it was the most popular month for weddings in 2018. May, August and September are the only other months in which more than a thousand couples married.
There were 2,347 divorces last year, 1.7% less than in 2017.
STA, 9 July 2019 - Slovenian experts are calling for adjusting government policies to allow people to age decently and to enable companies to get enough labour force, as the world is preparing to observe World Population Day on 11 July.
The main problem in Slovenia is a low birth rate and subsequent population ageing, which could be contained with a higher birth rate or young immigrants, Janez Malačič from the Ljubljana Faculty of Economics has told the STA.
Slovenia's total fertility rate - the average number of live newborns per woman in reproductive age - stood at 1.62 in 2017, just above the EU's average of 1.59.
An ageing population comes with many challenges, such as a shortage of labour as young people are leaving the country, while mostly low-skilled migrant workers are coming to Slovenia.
Some problems also stem from differences among regions, as "people are leaving less developed areas, where towns are getting depopulated, some of them already completely depopulated".
This is particularly a problem in border areas but also in some large towns, Janez Nared from the Anton Melik Geographical Institute at the ZRC SAZU has told the STA.
He sees a solution in making these areas stronger economically and in turning them into an attractive living environment for young people with quality services.
Nared believes this is where new housing estates should be developed, but warns the issue should be approached in a comprehensive manner based on an in-depth analysis.
In 2008-2017, the number of residents dropped in more than 70% of Slovenia's 212 municipalities, with the trend bound to continue, says Nared.
Projections show that more than 90 municipalities will see their populations drop by more than 10% in the coming 20 years.
By 2038, some municipalities will have one young person aged under 15 to five or six elderly aged 65 or more, which will seriously affect the labour market, education, social security and the pension system, consequently presenting a major pressure for the national budget, he says.
The UN declared World Population Day in 1989, two years after the global population reached five billion.
UN data shows there are now 7.5 billion people in the world, but the figure is projected to rise to over eleven billion by the end of the century.
World Population Day will this year focus globally on reproductive health, with calls to decision makers to enable women access to services key to reproductive health.
All our stories on demographics in Slovenia are here
STA, 23 June 2019 - After years of natural increase in population, Slovenia has seen a natural decrease in population for the second consecutive year in 2018, as the number of births dropped to below 20,000 a year for the first time in a decade.
Data from the Statistics Office show that 19,585 people were born in Slovenia last year and 20,485 died. The number of deaths was 0.1% lower than in 2017, while the number of births dropped by 3.2%.
Average age at death has been increasing gradually, climbing to 77.9 years. On average, men died at 74.1 years, while women died at 81.6 years of age.
Meanwhile, girls born in Slovenia last year have a life expectancy of 84 years and boys of 78.3 years. Life expectancy has increased by 7.3 years for women and 9.5 years for men over the course of the past three decades, the Statistics Office said.
Early deaths, meaning before the age of 65, accounted for 16.5% of all deaths last year. They accounted for 22.7% of deaths among men and 10.5% among women.
The share of early deaths has always been higher among men, but is declining for both sexes, said the office, adding that in 2008, the figure was at 32.5% for men and 13.1% for women.
Slovenia continues to be among the safest countries in the EU and in general in terms of infant mortality, with only 1.7 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. In total, 33 babies died last year, of which 22 were boys and 11 girls.
Last year, 10,157 boys were born in Slovenia and 9,428 girls. Ema was the most popular girls' name and Luke continued to reign supreme among boys' names for the 20th consecutive year.
The average age of the mother at the time of her first birth was 29.5 years, keeping with the trend of women deciding to have children at an increasingly later age.
Fifty years ago, most of the women having babies were between 20 and 24 years old, which remained the case up until the 1980s. Last year, most of the women having babies were in the age groups of 25-29 and 30-34.
More than 42% of the mothers were married. Fathers were on average three years older than the mother. Only eight fathers were older than 60 and 47 were younger than 20.
More data on this can be found here
STA, 25 April 2019 - The opposition Democrats (SDS) filed into parliamentary procedure on Thursday a bill on the creation of a demographic fund to prop up the pension system. In line with the proposal, all of state assets would be transferred to the fund, which would mainly finance pensions.
SDS head Janez Janša called on all parliamentary parties to add their remarks. The only point the SDS will insist on is the transfer of all state assets onto the fund, he said.
Otherwise the arguing over which assets should be transferred to the fund will go on forever, he said.
The aim of the bill is to improve the financial situation of pensioners, which is currently below the level of Slovenia's development, and lift the pressure off employers and employees, who have to pay increasingly high contributions to the pension fund to keep the pension system sustainable.
He noted that the name National Pension Fund would be more appropriate than the demographic fund.
According to Janša, the transfer of all state assets onto the fund would also facilitate management of state assets, which is currently not transparent because it is divided among several institutions.
The role of the sole shareholder would be assumed by the National Assembly to make sure that the management of state assets would not be "in the hands of those on power."
In line with the SDS's proposal, the current custodian of state assets, Slovenian Sovereign Holding, would be transformed into the Slovenian demographic fund.
All other investments of the state, the pension fund management KAD fund, the real estate investment firm DSU and the Pension and Disability Insurance Institute (ZPIZ), the public pension insurer, would also be transferred to the new fund.
According to SDS MP Andrej Šircelj, the fund would have a supervisory board and a management.
The supervisory board would have 13 members, put forward by deputy groups. The number of members put forward by each deputy group would depend on the size of the deputy group.
The supervisors would be appointed by the National Assembly with a two-thirds majority of all MPs present.
The management of the fund would consist of the chairman and two members, who would be appointed by the supervisors based on a public call for applications.
Every year, the fund would give 50% of the dividends and rents it would receive, and 10% of all sale proceeds to ZPIZ.
The remaining 50% of the dividends and rents, and 40% of sale proceeds would be accumulated.
The demographic fund would allocate 50% of sale proceeds to the state budget to pay off debts.
The idea of a demographic fund as one of possible instruments to ensure a long-term sustainability of the pension system was floated years ago.
Its establishment was envisaged under the 2013 pension reform of the Alenka Bratušek government and every government since has dealt with the issue.
The current government coalition has also committed to founding such a fund in its coalition agreement. While the Finance Ministry has not revealed when the bill would be ready, Karl Erjavec, the head of the coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), indicated that it might be ready this autumn.
Reacting to the SDS's motion today, most parties said they would study the proposal and respond to Janša's invitations to talks. The ministry, as well, said that it would study the proposal, although it was working on its own bill.
The coalition Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) and the Modern Centre Party (SMC) expressed belief that any proposal on how to shape the fund would be useful and worth debating.
Matjaž Han, deputy group head of the coalition Social Democrats (SD), said that establishing a demographic fund would be much more than a project of a single party, this government or this coalition. This would be a project of the generation and a topic that must be discussed.
Erjavec meanwhile said that this was an important bill but expressed fear that the motion was politically motivated, adding that if the SDS were serious about it, it would have endorsed a similar bill drafted by DeSUS.
He said he was looking forward to seeing the bill drafted by the Finance Ministry. The ministry meanwhile said the task force working on the bill would model the bill on best practices of similar funds abroad.
All out stories on demographics in Slovenia can be found here