Wednesday, June 20, 2007

United Nations Issues Report on Economic Development and Aging Society

According to a report from the United Nations, aging is having a profound impact on economic and social development worldwide, but policy responses put in place ahead of time could ease adaptation and harness the benefits of long-term demographic changes.

"World Economic and Social Survey 2007: Development in an Ageing World" provides objective analysis of pressing long-term social and economic development issues, and discusses the positive and negative impact of corresponding policies.
Greater longevity is an indicator of human progress in general. Increased life expectancy and lower fertility rates are changing the population structure worldwide in a major way: the proportion of older persons is rapidly increasing, a process known as population ageing. The process is inevitable and is already advanced in developed countries and progressing quite rapidly in developing ones.
While the report suggests that sine developing countries still have a growing youth population, strong growth in their labour force may open a unique window of opportunity for economic development if required policies are put in place,it also notes that in many developing countries the process of population aging is taking place at a much faster pace and at lower levels of income than it did in developed countries. "At current trends, by 2050 almost 80 per cent of the world’s population of 60 years and older is expected to live in what are now developing countries."

Among the reports conclusions:
  • Fertility and migration policies could delay, but will not avoid population ageing;
  • Negative effects of slower labour force growth can be offset by increasing both overall labour productivity and participation rates for women and older workers in ageing societies;
  • Improved working conditions for older persons can extend working life and enhance their contribution and participation in the economy; and
  • Old age pension systems must be based on multi-pillar systems, but with a universal social pension scheme at its basis to provide a minimum of income security and keep older persons out of poverty.
Source: UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs Press Release (June 19, 2007)

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