Home > Uncategorized > Fast population decline in Greece. Is it following the Detroit example?

Fast population decline in Greece. Is it following the Detroit example?

Elstat has published new population estimates for Greece. And what happened to Portugal, Ireland, Estonia, Spain Latvia, Lithuania, Romania or Bulgaria is happening to Greece, too. People are leaving in droves.and the population is declining as far as I know especially the working age population! Aside: don’t tell to me that international European job markets aren’t flexible. They are. Before 2008, a massive influx of foreign workers enabled Spain to have the second highest job growth in an absolute sense of the entire rich world, only next to the (much larger) US. Housing boom related private demand in Spain was of course fickle – but the supply side of the labour market reacted vigorously. No petrification there.


Which is a problem: Detroit went bust because its population dwindled from 1.7 million to 0.7 million – and the city council wasn’t able to cut financial obligations (including pensions) to a level which could be sustained by this much smaller number of people. In may of these countries this process is aggravated by, very low birth rates. in Eastern and Southern Europe total fertility rates of about 1.4 are not uncommon. In Germany, rates since about 1965, the number of 0 to 5 year olds is less than half the number of 50 to 55 year olds… Mind that out-migration is not about wealth – it is only recently that Germany knows net in-migration, again (West-Germany of course knew very large inflows of people in the 1945-1970 and after re-unification). It’s all about jobs.

  1. Blissex
    August 2, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    «Before 2008, a massive influx of foreign workers enabled Spain to have the second highest job growth in an absolute sense of the entire rich world»

    This provides context, but it is small and misleading context.

    For example mentioning that:

    * 1/4 of workforce in Greece is immigrants, most of them illegals (and treated quite badly).
    * The total number is between 1 million and 1.5 millions.
    * The greek black economy is probably around 25-30% of the official one.

    With that minimal context a net emigration per year of 60,000 is 5% of just the immigrant population returning home, or less than 1.5% of the workforce looking for work abroad.

    Which again demonstrates how soft has been the landing of the greek economy after the end of the fraud-fueled asset-stripping boom of 2004-2008, thanks to the massive help given by their 18 eurozone partners.

    PS: that the net immigration was running at just 20,000 per year during that boom seem somewhat hard to believe. Less recent greek government statistic may be highly imaginative. M Lewis and S Davíðsdóttir report:


    • August 8, 2015 at 12:21 pm


      Any way I could get in contact with you? What you wrote in your reply to Keen’s Forbes article on money, Feb 28, 2015) is very, very interesting. I have not seen anyone get as close to the truth about “money” (assuming I’ve got it right myself) — perhaps Innes, but he wasn’t too clear about it. It would be nice to exchange thoughts with you! I’m writing a paper on the subject.

  2. Blissex
    August 3, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    BTW the employment data (the unemployment data is even more dubious) from Greece is really strange, when looked at over pre-and-post boom, not just post-bubble as so many “astute” people do.

    For example how GDP rose by 20% points from its 2000-2001 baseline to 2007-2008 but employment only rose 4% points (the growth in sales was largely satisfied by imports), and then when GDP returned to its-boom level of 2000-2001 employment did not go back to its 2000-2001 level but fell further than GDP.

    It is particularly strange that a large drop in employment in the 15-24 age range pretty much linearly, even during the asset-sales fueled surge to 2008:


    While “prime” age (25-54) employment of men has not fallen that much compared to 2001 and that of women has actually increased:


    and similarly for the “mostly retired” 55-64 range:


    A in my previous comment it is hard to make any reliable statement, including claims of unemployment rising to 25%, in a country with 25-30% of GDP in the black economy and probably the same percentage as mostly-illegal immigrants.

    ELSTAT is under better management, even if still under constant attack from the usual kleptocracy and Y aroufakis, who recently shamefully wrote:

    «Unveiling how previous Greek governments turned crucial government departments, such as the General Secretariat of Public Revenues and the Hellenic Statistical Office, into departments effectively controlled by the troika and reliably pressed into the service of undermining the elected government.»

    It is entirely understandable that publishing more honest (not necessarily accurate though) statistics can be regarded as «undermining the elected government».

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