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The divide between young and elderly


The divide between young and elderly

Jordi Sevilla, Belén Santa Cruz and Diana Ortega, ecomomists;

Key points
  • 1
       Young people who grew up during the economic crisis are currently facing major difficulties in developing their life projects, whereas the population of people aged over 65, a group essential for the maintaining of entire families, has better weathered the effects of the different crises.
  • 2
       Young people are, today, one of society’s most vulnerable groups. The lack of a protection system and of measures adequate to satisfy their needs has led to a country in which the younger generations feel that they have been marginalised or excluded from social, economic, and political life.
  • 3
       Many young people are frustratedly experiencing numerous difficulties in accessing the labour market and remaining in it in a dignified way, as well as in access to housing, saving up money, moving upwards on the social scale, etc. Generations of young people feel that society is excluding them and that policies do not support them and they are warning, furthermore, that developing their life projects is becoming increasingly complex.
  • 4
       It is vital that the breakdown of the intergenerational compact is not viewed as a question of rivalry between age groups, but as a situation of intergenerational inequality that requires solutions. Closing the gap between young and old and recovering the intergenerational compact is a need in the present and a key issue for the future.
  • 5
       As pointed out by Joaquín Estefanía in his book 'Abuelo, ¿cómo habéis consentido esto?' (Planeta, 2017): “The greatest challenge faced by mature democracies after the years of economic crisis is restoring the social contract between generations”. This is the best way of ensuring that new generations are committed to the system of solidarity that underpins the welfare state.
  • 6
       The passing of the years will confirm what the consequences are of the changes in situation and perspectives between the generations and it will be seen whether the setback experienced in the second decade of the century is simply a consequence of the last economic and financial crisis or whether, to the contrary, it is attributable to a pattern of advanced societies.
  • 7
       The breakdown of the intergenerational compact affects the idea of progress. Even more so within a context in which the advances that accompany the technological revolution are not always accompanied by social advances for certain groups.
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Key figures



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The divide between the rural and the urban world

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