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What are the consequences of an ageing population?

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Introduction

What are the consequences of an ageing population? When a country has a high number of elderly people (people aged 65 and over), it is said to have an 'ageing population.' The proportion of elderly people in the world is steadily increasing: by 2025, it is predicted that nearly ( of the world's population will be 65 or over. This is happening most rapidly in the rich countries of the economically developed world. Rich countries have growing numbers of elderly people, because of declines in fertility rates and high standards of living and healthcare, which enable people to live well into their old age. In Europe and America, the post World War II baby boom generation will reach retirement age late next decade. The number of elderly dependents will rise rapidly for many years. Most developed countries and some developing countries have ageing populations. Sweden has the highest proportion of elderly people in the world: In 1750, only 6% of Sweden's population was over 65, yet now, it is over 20%. ...read more.

Middle

Most MEDC governments are searching for an effective solution to overcome this problem. Pensions could be made less generous, but, as elderly people must still have decent standards of living, reduced pensions would not be the most desirable solution. State pensions could be abolished, and people could be made to pay for their own private pension plans. Currently, many MEDC governments are encouraging people to enhance their state pensions with private plans, to allow them to be more comfortably off in their old age. In some countries, such as Chile, there have been radical reforms, and now private pension schemes are the sole source of income for most retirees. However, in Germany, the first step towards reform and adopting a private pension scheme failed. The least popular solution would be to raise taxes, so as to generate more money for pensions. An alternative way of raising more money would be to increase the workforce, so that there are more taxpayers, instead of increasing the amount of tax paid by each individual worker. ...read more.

Conclusion

As there are more and more elderly dependants, there are less economically active workers. If ageing population trends continue, some countries could find themselves with labour and skill shortages, as increasing numbers of workers retire. To resolve this, the workforce could be increased by the methods mentioned previously, and likewise, the retirement age could be raised, keeping old people productive for longer. Although this trend has been predicted for about 40 years, as a direct result of the post World War II baby boom, as of yet, no government has come up with an affective solution for combating the problems caused by an ageing population. It is inevitable that the ageing of the population is going to have many consequences, and most of these will create many problems, the main one being that providing for the elderly will become more difficult as the ratio of elderly dependents to adult workers increases. Because no effective strategies have yet been implemented to solve these problems, the ageing of the population is going to continue to be one of the most serious issues confronting the developed world. ...read more.

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