America is not the only place where population aging and population decline are on the minds of government planners.
Cambridge Realty Capital Companies Chairman Jeffrey A. Davis says a United Nations advisory body on issues related to population and development reports that between 2015 and 2050, the population aged 65 or older in Europe will increase from 23 to 28 percent. In North America, the corresponding percentage will rise from 18 to 23 percent.
By 2050, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and Oceania will all have more than 18 percent of their populations at ages 65 or above, the UN advisory body predicts.
Mr. Davis notes that John Wilmoth, Director of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, points out that continued success in reducing death rates, including among older people and for deaths due to heart disease, cancer and other causes previously considered intractable, has contributed to the further aging of the world’s population.
“In aging societies, social protection mechanisms, pension systems and healthcare programs are being adjusted and strengthened. Women’s participation in the workforce is being supported more than ever before, and some countries are slowly pushing up the age of retirement,” Mr. Wilmoth reports.
Due to a relatively slow decline in rates of fertility, many parts of Africa will retain a young population for decades to come. Still, as the birth rate continues to fall, due in part to continuing investments in sexual and reproductive health, there will be an opportunity for a “demographic dividend.”
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres says progress in providing access to education and to sexual and reproductive healthcare services, especially for girls and women, has led to falling birth rates in many countries. When this trend is accompanied by investments in human capital, especially for youth, a demographic dividend can result, accelerating a country’s economic growth.
In the meantime, the world’s population will continue to age as it expands, Mr. Davis observed.