BUCHAREST – Romania counts more retirees than people working, a major “economic anomaly” that puts pension payments at risk in the coming years, economic newspaper Ziarul Financiar reported Tuesday.
The ratio of retirees to workers is a major source of concern in several advanced countries — including Japan — but in particular those with high rates of unemployment, especially among the young.
A study by Swiss reinsurance group Swiss Re on Tuesday found that a main concern for Germans is the outlook for retirees, because Germany has an aging population and low birthrate.
In 1990, just after the fall of communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, Romania had 8.1 million people in jobs and 3.5 million retirees.
But with the switch to a market economy, the country shed millions of industrial jobs.
Hundreds of thousands more were shed during the two years of recession between 2009 and 2010, Ziarul Financiar reported.
In 2012, the number of the employed had fallen to 4.3 million — out of a population of 20 million — while the number of pensioners rose to 5.3 million.
“If this trend goes on, Romania risks being unable to support pension payments in 10 years,” professor Mircea Cosea said.
More than 2 million Romanians have left the country, the second-poorest in the European Union after Bulgaria, to find work abroad, mainly in Spain and Italy.
Combined with a falling birth rate, emigration has led to an aging society, a fact that will have negative ramifications for the Balkan country’s economy, experts say.