News and Events

Political discussion

Political discussions on older people are taking place in all Member States in the European Union. There are surveys by the OECD and other pan-European organizations with relevant statistical data on learning of older people.

Living in an ageing Europe

The Finnish population is ageing more rapidly than any other OECD country and average life expectancy has increased since 1970, which leaves more and more retired people in an active and healthy condition. Older people have 20 years or more to live in retirement. In Italy the population is also growing older; those aged 65+ make up about 20% of the Italian population now (and 33% in 2050). In the United Kingdom, Finland and Austria political discussions focus on active ageing, independent living and meaningful activities for older people. However, the main focus is on the employability of older people and their re-entry into the labour market. Apart from a positve view on ageing issues of isolation and loneliness, as well as the respective suicide rates among older people are also in the focus of public discourse. Disadvantaged families and communities are the most affected by these issues. In this connection it is important to enable social well-being and social mobility.

Educational background of older people

Older people often have a lower educational background than younger people. Some examples help to illustrate this fact: In Austria only 16.500 women living in Vienna over the age of 50 have a university degree, while 36.000 women between 30 and 49 years have one. With men the figures are similar. The Austrian micro-census from 2003 shows that education decreases with age. In Finland a survey showed that most of the older population do not attend formal adult education. Only 12% of those aged 67+ were found to engage in such activities. In Italy the levels of non-formal and informal education among older people are also a matter of concern. Volunteering is not always seen as a matter of lifelong learning: Not many schemes for older volunteers are mentioned in the country reports.