What causes an ageing population?
Why is the population ageing? The ageing of the world’s populations is the result of the continued decline in fertility rates and increased life expectancy. This demographic change has resulted in increasing numbers and proportions of people who are over 60.
In most developed economies, over 20 percent of the population will be aged 65 and over by 2025, rising to over 25 percent in 2045. This increased longevity is a by-product of many factors, including improvements in healthcare and changes in lifestyle.
What are the disadvantages of an Ageing population?
- Increased economic pressure to sustain older generations.
- Decreased participation rates (amount of people in the workforce)
- Increased dependency rates (ratio of older people to younger people)
There are many disadvantages of an ageing population. As people age, they become more dependent on the care of others. Traditionally, this care was provided by the family, and was not a problem with relatively low life expectancy. Nowadays with many people living into their 80’s and 90’s, the need for care presents a burden which many families cannot cope with. Elderly people need more than a home and meals, they have specific needs in terms of medical care, transport and leisure.
An ageing population has several economic consequences. The major problem is funding welfare systems (pensions and healthcare). With the proportion of working people who create wealth and paying taxes falling whilst the proportion of elderly people dependent on the welfare system increasing funding the system is becoming increasingly difficult.
What are the advantages of an Ageing population?
However there are some beneficial consequences of an ageing population. Some manufacturing companies have tapped into the growing niche market for products such as wheelchairs and stair lifts. The service sector has been boosted by the purchase of leisure and recreational facilities at off-peak times during the working week.
A proportion of pensioners is sufficiently wealthy to bear the full costs of their own healthcare, private nursing and residential care. Many elderly people are great travelers and take advantage of the lower prices outside school holidays, which has helped to extend the tourist season and allowed hotels and tour companies to make more profits.