Study Sizes Up a Graying Europe

ROME, AUG. 28, 2002 ( Europe is getting grayer, a new study confirms.

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The «Comparison of Childhood and Adolescence in the European Union» was published recently by the Center of Documentation and Analyses of Childhood and Adolescence of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policies.

The study is the first of its type in Europe. Among its findings:

— Starting in the 1960s, the population of what is now the European Union countries has been progressively aging, due in part to falling birthrates.

In 1999 the population of children (up to age 14) and minors (up to age 17) represented 17% and 20.6%, respectively, of the total EU population of 375 million.

Germany, Italy, Spain and Greece have relatively fewer young people. Italy’s children account for 14.5% of its population, minors 17.7%. At the other extreme is Ireland, where children account for 22.2% of the population, minors 27.7%.

— The general crime rate is relatively high in Sweden (135 incidents per 1,000 inhabitants) and in Denmark (101). The lowest rates are in Spain (18), Ireland (25), Portugal (32), Greece (36) and Italy (54).

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