chapter  5
Demographic change and challenge
WithAgnieszka Fihel, Marek Okólski
Pages 32

This chapter presents the most important demographic changes in EU11 countries in the post-1989 period: the lengthening of life expectancy, decreasing number of births and declining fertility rates, and the diversification of countries’ migration status. For several decades, unfavourable tendencies impeded the decline in mortality in European communist countries. Before the so-called health crisis, in the first years following the end of World War II, all European countries experienced a rapid increase in life expectancy thanks to the amelioration of living conditions and food supplies, as well as the implementation of vaccination programs on a massive scale. In the post-1989 period, the falling number of births was one of the key components of general population trend in the EU11 countries: while back in 1950–55, 10.4 million births were recorded, on the eve of the post-communist transition in 1985–90, this figure was 8.2 million and 20 years later in 2010–15, just 5.2 million (a drop of 50.1%).