In the last two years, which were marked by the coronavirus pandemic, Croatia has seen the number of deaths among senior citizens increase by 18,000 above the average, the Vecernji List daily reported on Monday, noting that the high mortality rate among the elderly has brought the total number of pensioners in Croatia to the lowest level in the last four years.
At the end of 2020, there were about 1.241 million pensioners in Croatia, while on the last day of 2021, data from the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute showed that the number went down by 9,000 to 1.232 million – the largest decrease since Croatia started keeping records.
Over the past 30 years, Croatia has registered a steady increase in the number of pensioners. In 1990, the ratio of workers to pensioners was 3:1 – close to two million workers and slightly more than 600,000 pensioners.
Since 1991, the number of pensioners has more than doubled and today it is almost equal to the number of workers.
The drop in the number of pensioners in 2021 is due to a high mortality rate among the elderly. Last year, there were close to 12,000 more deaths in the pensioner population than the average in the years before the coronavirus crisis.
Last year, pension allowances for 61,000 beneficiaries were suspended because they had died.
In 2020, around 55,000 pensioners died, while before the epidemic, between 48,000 and 49,000 pensioners died annually in Croatia.
Except for the coronavirus, the increased mortality among elderly persons was probably also due to factors such as restricted access to healthcare, stress, loneliness, as well as the fact that Croatia’s vaccination rate among the elderly was comparatively low.
Pensioners who died last year had, on average, been receiving a pension allowance for 20 years.
Even though the total number of pensioners has decreased, the influx of new pensions in the pension system has not decreased compared to the previous period, the daily reported.