Can Africa Help Europe Avoid Its Looming Aging Crisis?

There will be 95 million fewer working-age people in Europe in 2050 than in 2015, under business as usual. This will cause significant fiscal stress as well as slower economic growth. Potential responses include: (a) raising labor force participation by women and older workers; (b) automation; and (c) outsourcing. But none will be sufficient. This leaves immigration: while migrants create demand for jobs as well as fill them, they can help rebalance the ratio of working to non-working populations. The paper compares business as usual estimates of inflows to 2050 with the size of the labor gap in Europe. Under plausible estimates, business as usual will fill one-third of the labor gap. This suggests a need for an urgent shift if Europe is to avoid an aging crisis. Africa is the obvious source of immigrants, to mutual benefit.

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