The percentage of the population over 64 years of age in Spain exceeds 20% of the total and already exceeds the group under 20 years of age, giving rise to a “growing imbalance” in the size of the older and younger generations, according to a analysis carried out by the Savings Banks Foundation (Funcas), on the occasion of the European Day of Solidarity between Generations, which is celebrated this Saturday.

Specifically, it points out that, if in 2012 the population aged 65 or over accounted for 17.4% of the population, in 2022 it already exceeded 20%. On the other hand, the population under 20 years of age fell in 2022 to 19.2%, after years stagnating at around 20%.

Thus, Funcas explains that the proportion of the population over 64 years of age in Spain already exceeds that of less than 20 years of age, something that has already happened in Germany, Italy and Portugal, among other European countries.

In this way, the analysis points towards “a greater imbalance between generations in the coming decades”, which poses “a challenge to the extent that the groups from which solidarity behaviors are expected – that is, mutual cooperation and generosity — have resources that put them in very different positions.”

According to Funcas, at present, the older generations are “those that absorb the greatest part of the national income channeled by the European welfare states”, they are usually “those with the greatest financial and real estate assets and, due to their demographic weight, are determining factors in the electoral results”.

Specifically, it indicates that, since 2013, the highest income per person and consumption unit occurs in the group of people over 64 years of age, who also presents, since 2010, the lowest risk of poverty or social exclusion.

These data, as Funcas argues, trace “a context more favorable to tension than to intergenerational solidarity.” Although, in the Spanish case, he considers that “no conflict is observed”, something that he attributes “to the close relationships between generations of Spanish families”.

Citing responses to a question from the Center for Sociological Research (CIS) about the frequency with which he stays “to go out or meet at home” with non-living relatives, including fathers, mothers and children, Funcas concludes that the pandemic has not weakened the frequency of face-to-face meetings between family members of different generations.

In addition, it stands out that the proportion of Spanish women who stay or see their fathers and mothers (not cohabiting) “several times a week” reached 56% last March, a figure that decreases in the case of men.

For Funcas, it is reasonable to assume that the two spheres of intergenerational solidarity, the family and the social, are connected and that, as long as they remain so, the probability of intergenerational conflicts will be less. In any case, he warns that this “family safeguard” can also be weakened in societies where, like the Spanish one, the younger generations are emptied by the drop in births.