Hungarian population aging fast, KSH microcensus shows

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Children in Hungary have never been so few in number since at least 1870, figures of a microcensus conducted by the Central Statistical Office (KSH) last year show. Meanwhile, the number of those belonging to the old-age category has reached an all-time high.

By the time of the first census in Hungary in 1870, some 1.8 million children aged under 15 lived in Hungary. Their number continued to grow, and even after World War 2 there were nearly 2.3 million. Starting from the 1970s, however, the birth rate began to fall and by 2016 the number of children under 15 reached a record low of 1.4 million, business news portal vg.hu reports based on KSH figures.

Although the active population has doubled since 1870, it has been showing a decreasing trend of late, as the 15-64 working age group counted 6.6 million last year, down from nearly 7 million in 2001.

But the accelerating pace of aging is shown most clearly in the evolution of the age category of those aged 65 and over. While the total population has been continuously decreasing since 1980, the latterʼs numbers have grown from 1.5 million in 1980 to over 1.8 million in 2016, increasing from less than 10% of the population before 1970 to 18% of the total by 2016.

The aging index, which shows the number of old people per 100 children in the country, reveals the change most conspicuously. In 1870, there were just eight old people per 100 children, while this had soared to 128 by 2016.

As for those aged under 15, their share of the population was as much as 35-37% until 1910, but less than 15% by 2016. In the meantime, the total population of Hungary has fallen from an all-time high of 10.7 million in 1980 to 9.8 million in 2016.

The aim of the microcensus is to refresh data between major censuses using the same criteria, preparing a snapshot of social changes for the benefit of policy-makers and researchers.  The latest survey involved some 10% of the population, or 440,000 households in 2,148 settlements. This compares to the first such microcensus conducted in 1963, which used a sample of only 2% of the population.

An interactive chart about the evolution of the population and specific age categories is available on the KSH site.

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