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Opole. Experts warn of a demographic catastrophe. Opolskie is getting old and depopulated

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Scientists from the Silesian Institute in Opole warn against the worsening demographic situation of the voivodeship. As the scientists noted in their report, a characteristic feature of the Opolskie Voivodeship are the increasing aging processes of the society, a decline in the number of economically active people and intensifying migrations.

On Wednesday, a conference was held on the challenges facing the Opole labor market. Experts from the Silesian Institute in Opole presented their conclusions from the research. – The demographic situation of the Opolskie Voivodeship is the worst in the country and it can be described as a demographic catastrophe – the scientists informed.

As they noted in their report, a characteristic feature of the Opolskie Voivodeship are the increasing aging processes of the society, a decline in the number of economically active people and intensifying migrations.

One of the negative phenomena is the decrease in the number of inhabitants by about 60,000 people over the last decade during the last census, and the province itself – with a population of less than a million – is currently the least populated region in the country. According to data from 2020, the loss of population per 1,000 inhabitants in the region was minus six and was twice as high as the national average.

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According to scientists, the demographic situation in the region will deteriorate further in the coming years due to the durability and irreversibility of demographic processes. There will also be further deformation of demographic structures due to the increasing share of older people. The outflow of the best educated people from the region will continue, both outside Poland and to neighboring provinces with large academic centers and absorptive labor markets.

In the opinion of specialists, there are no signs of transformations in the region that could cause a demand for people with higher education, so the labor market will remain the market of an auxiliary worker.

Moreover, vocational education remains attractive to a large proportion of people who, like their parents, look for a job in other European Union countries, which is due both to a certain type of tradition and more attractive pay conditions in countries such as Germany or the Netherlands.

SEE TVN “FACT” MATERIAL: The demographic crisis in Poland has deepened. The worst period since World War II

Deteriorating demographic situation of Opole

The team led by prof. Krystian Heffner assessed that Opole’s rank as an academic center may also decline, manifesting itself in the annual reduction in the number of students and graduates and a low share of students in engineering and technology, as well as a low share of people participating in lifelong learning.

Opole is getting old and depopulatedShutterstock

The structure of society is also a problem. In 2020, there were 38 post-working age per one hundred people of working age in the Opole region. According to demographers’ forecasts, in 2030 it will be 50 people, with the forecasted national average of 45.

Also read: Poland is depopulating. Fewest births and most deaths in years

Refugees from Ukraine want to work in the region

Maciej Kalski, director of the Provincial Labor Office in Opole, discussing the influence of refugees from Ukraine on the Opole labor market, he pointed out that about 60 percent of the respondents Ukrainian citizens who came after February 24 would like to work in the region.

Taking into account the number of refugees, this gives from 7,827 to 8,479 people new to the labor market – mainly women. The main problem in finding a job is the language barrier. According to VLO data, more than half of them are interested in language courses, and 15% of the respondents is ready to undergo professional training.

According to the independent economist, Alicja Defratyka, the likely crisis in the economy should not cause a marked increase in the number of unemployed in the region. As she explained, the reason is the decreasing number of people entering the labor market compared to the growing number of people who retire.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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