The classic form of the population pyramid hinges at a broad base of young people and ends in narrow segments of the elderly population. However, in the case of Spain, its shape is on the way to become an inverted pyramid. This new, unstable form is the result of our high longevity and our very low birth rate, both of which occupy a very prominent position internationally.
And the prospects are not encouraging: the number of births no longer offset the number of deaths and has decreased with the recent crises, despite hopes that confinement will have a positive effect on our reproductive habits. Similarly, relying on the inclusion of immigrant populations to account for change in trend is misleading: its high birth rate, which reduces background negative trends, lasts little more than a generation, as it quickly adapts to the local model. Is.
There is another pyramid in the process of reversal, of income and wealth levels by age, which are higher in active segments of the population and lower in advanced age (hence the greater risk of traditional identity and poverty among older people). . However, this historical reality is changing: in recent crises, the relative poverty rate that has risen has been that of the young, not the elderly (as their incomes – for example, pensions – have risen). armored ) and, in turn, the increased longevity postpones the transmission of assets between generations. The result is that older areas have higher property occupancies and in some cases (for example, in France), the median income of these areas has been higher than that received by the active population, especially if they are young.
These incidents create a worrying reality. The group called for a reversal of the situation – especially the low birth rate – is the most negatively affected: job insecurity, high rates of poverty, difficulty in accessing housing, problems of reconciliation … and all this increase. Interest rates would work against the indebted population, creating a displacement of income in favor of the elderly at the expense of the youngest.
Birth policies should be adopted so that young people can have as many children as they want
Despite everything, this panorama is not irreversible, as the experience of other European countries such as France and Sweden shows. It is essential to be aware of the gravity of the challenge and to adopt a sustainable global policy with a broad majority. A provocative way of stating the purpose would be: for the good of young people, and the interest of society itself, it is conspired so that they can have as many children as they want. It is known that, in Spain, the desired birth rate is twice the real birth rate and the same as the population replacement rate.
The measures to be included in an agreement for the desired birth rate would be the result of a political settlement. Some, however, seem obvious, because they also contribute to equality: universal and free education for 0-3 years (this is one of the most effective childbearing policies and an important tool to fight against inequality) . A sustainable social housing policy. Manage minimum significant income in the same way as pension. Encourage any transfer of assets in which youth are the beneficiaries. Finally, promote an ambitious proposal for public employment.