Longevity and Retirement in France
Life expectancy in France has increased by 35 years over the last century. This spectacular increase is due to reduced mortality at all ages but is more accentuated at the two extremes of life where it used to be especially high. First infant mortality has bottomed out, and more recently the average death age keeps rising.
This second phenomenon explains why life expectancy at 60-years-old increases faster than life expectancy at birth. The number of persons reaching 60 is going to rise more rapidly and as they live longer the proportion of sixty-years-old-plus will rapidly increase, especially in relation to the number of adults between the ages of 20 and 59.
To prevent the weight of retirees from falling too heavily on the active population, the duration of retirement relative to working life could be shortened. The reform proposed in 1993, to increase progressively the period of contribution required in order to receive a full pension, was a step in this direction.
But even if labor market conditions did not make it so difficult to extend the length of working life, this measure would be insufficient. We must therefore explore some other pathways of reform which will inevitably run into the eternal issue of acquired rights.