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Poland, pensions and global greying

October 2012

What is the link between youthful out-migration and Poland’s current pension crisis?

What is the link between youthful out-migration and Poland’s current pension crisis? And why do some business experts believe that ‘global greying’ presents an economic opportunity, not just a pensions challenge?

This article provides a useful subject knowledge update for migration and population studies at AS-level and GCSE level, based on recent news reports. Firstly, we take a look at how out-migration from Poland has contributed to a pensions crisis for the country. The argument is that because of out-migration there are no longer enough youthful Polish workers paying sufficient taxes in their homeland to meet a rising pensions bill as life expectancy continues to increase. While migrant remittances are helpful for economic development, would Poland be in a better position to pay for its pensions if more young migrants returned home?

Secondly, we take a wider look at how the issues associated with an ageing population are beginning to affect more and more countries globally. But not everyone sees ‘global greying’ simply as an economic challenge. People in the business sector increasingly see opportunities here too - and a homework assignment is provided that focuses in on this interesting issue.


This article can be used to support AS-level and GCSE teaching of the consequences of migration and population change (including ageing population issues). In particular, it can support:

  • AQA GCSE Unit 2 (Europe - ageing populations and immigration)
  • Edexcel GCSE (B) Unit 2 (managing population change and migration)
  • Edexcel GCE Unit 1 (compulsory case study of eastern European migration)
  • AQA GCE Unit 1 (implications of population change)
  • IBO Diploma P3 (causes and consequences of an international labour flow)

In the Members' area:

  • Poland’s ageing population: a consequence of migration? (topic update)
  • ‘Global greying’: the global issue of ageing populations (with homework assignment)

Sign in to read the full article. If you are not already a member you can join us as a School Member or Young Geographer and access our vast library of educational articles.


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