Proportion of non-working population increasing with time | LISER

Proportion of non-working population increasing with time

From 1947 to 2011, the proportion of non-working population rose from 41 non-working individuals to 46, per 100 people of working age.

Non-working population dependent on workers

The demographic dependency ratio expresses the ratio between the generally non-working population, in other words children under 15 and people aged 65 or over, and the productive, or working-age, population (i.e. aged 15-64). Between 1947 and 2011, this ratio rose from 41 dependents per 100 working-age people, to 46. This rise is mainly due to an increase in the number of dependent older people.

Higher dependency ratio in Esch-sur-Alzette

Between 1947 and 2011, the percentage of older people retiring from work was higher than that of younger people starting work. This overall dependency ratio rose more sharply than the national average in the cantons of Esch-sur-Alzette (38 to 49) and Vianden (44 to 51). These results can be attributed to these two cantons recording the highest growth rate in terms of people aged 65 and over.

The demographic Dependency Ratio illustrates the ratio between the number of people who are usually not working (i.e. children less than 15 years old and elderly of 65 years old and over) and the number of the economically productive people or the working age population (15-64 years old). The result is usually expressed as the total number of people 'socially or economically' dependent, younger than 15 years old and elderly of 65 years old and over, per 100 persons aged between 15 to 64 who are able to carry this number of people economically. This indicator can be split up in two ratios according to the age groups of dependent people: the youth-dependency ratio shows the number of people younger than 15 in relation to the working age population (15-64) and the elderly-dependency ratio is the number of people aged 65 and over in relation to the working age population.

Though not all persons aged 15-64 are necessarily economically active and those aged less than 15 or 65 and over are not all necessarily economically dependent, the dependency ratio can nevertheless give a useful proxy of the social and economic burden (pension financing, expenses and health care needs, etc.) as represented by the theoretical number of dependent people. The higher this ratio, the heavier the economic and social burden for those between 15 and 64 years old.

The changes observed in the Luxembourg residents’ age composition (see Composition of the total resident population of Luxembourg according to age, gender and nationality (census data 1905-2011)) over time have led to an evolution of the global demographic dependency ratio. From 1947 to 2011, this ratio has risen from 41 to 46 per 100 economically active people. This increase is largely due to the increase in the elderly-dependency ratio (13 to 20), whereas the youth-dependency ratio has declined from 28 to 25 during the same period. These two contrasting trends show that between these two dates there were more individuals who left the group of people aged 15 to 64 and became dependent compared to individuals who came into this age group to provide social and economic support.

Nevertheless, the global ratio hides large cantonal disparities. Though the dependency ratio has remained stable (around 46) in the canton of Grevenmacher between 1947 and 2011, and has declined in the cantons of Mersch (46 to 44) and Redange (49 to 45), it has risen more quickly in the cantons of Esch/Alzette (38 to 49) and Vianden (44 to 51) compared to the increase in the country as a whole. There was indeed an increase of 11 and 7 dependent people for every 100 individuals of working age respectively in the cantons of Esch/Alzette and Vianden, up from 5 at the national level. These latest findings are not surprising as it is also in these two cantons that the highest growth rate in the proportion of elderly people (65 years old and over -see Indicator 3) has occurred. Thus, if the elderly-dependency ratio has increased in all cantons between 1947 and 2011, a more significant increase has been observed in the cantons of Esch/Alzette (10 to 22) and Vianden (14 to 22). As regards the youth-dependency ratio, it has decreased over the same period in all cantons in line with the national youth-dependency ratio; it has varied between a loss of 1 young person (less than 15 years old) per 100 economically active people in the canton of Vianden (30 to 29), to a loss of 4 people younger than 15 in the cantons of Redange and Luxembourg.


Residents of Luxembourg


Population censuses 1947 and 2011, STATEC, Calculations LISER

Reading Guide

In the canton of Esch/Alzette, the number of "economically dependent" (not of working age) persons has increased between the two population censuses of 1947 and 2011: per 100 people of working age (economically active), the number of dependents increased from 38.2 to 49.1.

Publications in which the indicator appears
LEDUC Kristell
In: BOUSCH P., CHILLA T., GERBER P., KLEIN O., SCHULTZ C., SOHN C., WIKTORIN D. Der Luxemburg Atlas / Atlas du Luxembourg. Köln : Emons, 2009, pp. 160-161.