The number of Spaniards over 80 has increased by 66 percent over the past 15 years, compared with a 13 percent rise for the rest of the population.
A combination of long life expectancy and a low birth rate mean that by 2050 Spain will be surpassed only by Japan and Italy in terms of elderly as a proportion of the population, the ministry said, citing United Nations projections.
Sixteen percent of Spaniards are now over 65, accounting for an estimated 7.3 million in this country of 45 million. Among the elderly, 2 million are over 80 years old, the report said.
A total of 41 percent of the Spanish elderly live in nursing homes and 35 percent with one of their children. Forty percent have cell phones, but only 9 percent use the Internet.
Life expectancy in Spain is among the highest in the European Union and the world at 79.7 years 76.3 for men and 83 for women.
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