Depopulation As a Policy Challenge of Global Demographic Trends

Wolfgang Lutz and Nicholas Gailey

Throughout history, societies have lost population due to factors fundamentally beyond human control, such as food shortages, diseases and wars. Today, in many societies in the region, including Serbia, the population is declining due to people’s decisions, two of which are key – to have fewer children and to migrate. All projections show that these societies will shrink and become older. Fertility rates will not rise, and the region lacks the capacity to pursue immigration policies as they are pursued by Western Europe. What can Serbia and the countries in the region do in these circumstances? New circumstances require new population policies and that is why it is time to stop, as a society, dealing only with the size of the population and to start dealing with its quality, that is, strengthening the society’s human resources. The goal of population policies should be a smaller, but more educated and healthier population that is more actively working.