Population Ageing.
A brief assessment of its dynamics
and consequences.
Ronald C. Schoenmaeckers
Presentation prepared on the occasion of the
Follow-up seminar of the TRIPL-E DOSE Conference
Warsaw, 19 June 2007
SVR – Studiedienst Vlaamse Regering (Research Centre Flemish Government)
Three parts of this (short) presentation:
1.
The essentials
Something to keep in mind
2.
The key issue
3.
The need for an alternative view?
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“Viewed as a whole the problem of population ageing is no
problem at all. It is only the pessimistic way of looking at a
great triumph of civilization”
Frank Notestein, 1954
Indeed, let us keep in mind that the phenomenon of ‘population ageing’
is directly related to the fact that people live longer… which is nothing,
one must concede, but a positive development.
Which does not mean that changing age structures – or rapidly
changing population numbers for that matter – would not give rise to
great concern, economically, socially, politically.
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Three parts of this (short) presentation:
1.
The essentials
Something to keep in mind
2.
The key issue
3.
The need for an alternative view?
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Changes in the dependency ratio
[(0-19) + (65+)] / [20-64]
• Shrinking work force (20-64)
• Fewer numbers of young people
• Higher numbers of older people
(0-19)
(65+)
Indeed, since the second half of the XXth century, all countries experience an
increase in the percentages of older people in their population.
The intensity and the tempo of the process may differ, but the trend is general.
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1 .0
0.97
1 .0
0.94
0 .8
0 .8
Unity in diversity.
0.76
0.71
0 .6
0 .6
140 ‘active’ for
100 ‘non-active’
131 ‘active’ for
100 ‘non-active’
2100
2090
2080
2070
2060
2050
2000
1990
1980
1970
1960
2100
2090
2080
2070
2060
2050
2040
2030
2020
2010
2000
1990
1980
1970
1960
1950
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1950
0 .4
0 .4
2040
(B) Changing
mortality and
fertility levels
107 ‘active’ for
100 ‘non-active’
104 ‘active’ for
100 ‘non-active’
2030
(A) Changing
mort./ constant
fertility levels
1 .2
1 .2
2020
Results
simulation
exercises:
B . E U 12
A . E U 15
2010
Evolution
dependency
ratio,
1950-2100
Evolution
dependency
ratio,
1950-2100
Results
simulation
exercises:
(A) Changing
mort./ constant
fertility levels
(B) Changing
mortality and
fertility levels
B . E U 12
A . E U 15
1 .2
1 .2
Unity: similar values towards 2100.
1 .0
1 .0
0 .8
0 .8
0 .6
0 .6
Diversity: different paths between
1980 and 2050.
2100
2090
2080
2070
2060
2050
2040
2030
2020
2010
2000
1990
1980
1970
1960
2100
2090
2080
2070
2060
2050
2040
2030
2020
2010
2000
1990
1980
1970
1960
1950
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1950
0 .4
0 .4
B . the
E U 12
A . E U 15 are of course – as is always
These assumptions
case with
projections
- 1debatable.
00
4 .0
100
90
3 .5
3 .5
87.5
80
3 .0
80
70
2 .5
70
64.0
84.0
3 .0
2 .5
Regression in the ’90s,
especially for men
62.6
2100
2090
2080
2070
2060
2050
2040
2030
2020
2010
2000
1990
1980
1970
2100
2090
2080
2070
1 .0
2060
40
2050
1 .0
2040
40
2030
1 .5
2020
50
2010
1 .5
2000
50
1990
2 .0
1980
60
1970
2 .0
1960
60
1950
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90
1960
Results
simulation
exercises,
assumptions re
mortality and
fertility
4 .0
In this particular case, it is possible, for instance, that for the EU12,
E0 in 2100 is underestimated.
1950
Evolution
dependency
ratio,
1950-2100
For the EU15, between 1960 and 1980, fertility dropped by about 22%
(from 2.1 to 1.7), whereas for the EU12 countries between 1950 and
2000 fertility dropped by no
less9 0than 58% (from 3.0 to 1.3). 3 .5
90
3 .5
80
3 .0
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80
3 .0
Let us return to 2the
trajectories
in the
70
.5
dependency ratio.
70
2 .5
2100
2090
2080
2070
2060
2050
2040
2030
2020
2010
2000
1990
1980
1970
1960
1950
2100
2090
2080
1 .0
2070
40
2060
1 .0
2050
40
2040
1 .5
2030
50
2020
1 .5
2010
50
2000
2 .0
1990
60
1980
2 .0
1970
60
1950
Results
simulation
exercises,
assumptions re
mortality and
fertility
E U 12of countries
A . E U 15differences between the twoB .groups
The most important
are, however, related4 .0to the
1 0 0 changes in fertility.
4 .0
100
1960
Evolution
dependency
ratio,
1950-2100
Evolution
dependency
ratio,
1950-2100
Results
simulation
exercises:
(A) Changing
mort./ constant
fertility levels
(B) Changing
mortality and
fertility levels
B . E U 12
A . E U 15
1 .2
1 .2
1 .0
1 .0
0 .8
0 .8
It is clear that by 2100, both groups of countries will have
comparable levels in the dependency ratio (experiencing 104-107
‘active’ persons for 100 ‘non-active’ persons).
0 .6
It should also be clear that by that time, in both groups of
0 .6
countries, the value has become less sensitive to the changes in
fertility. This is quite understandable, since in both cases fertility
has been kept constant after 2050 (TFR= 1.85).
What, by the way, would be the result of assuming a TFR=2.1? This is
shown in the 0next
slide.
.4
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2100
2090
2080
2070
2060
2050
2040
2030
2020
2010
2000
1990
1980
1970
1960
1950
2100
2090
2080
2070
2060
2050
2040
2030
2020
2010
2000
1990
1980
1970
1960
1950
0 .4
Evolution
dependency
ratio,
1950-2100
Results
simulation
exercises:
(A) Changing
mort./ constant
fertility levels
(B) Changing
mortality and
fertility levels
B . E U 12
A . E U 15
1 .2
1 .2
1 .0
1 .0
0 .8
0 .8
Finally, assuming an increase of fertility to a TFR=2.1 (the replacement
0 .6
level) will hardly have an impact on the dependency ratio.
0 .6
Note that an increase of the TFR to 2.1 children will lower the
percentage of persons aged 65 and more with only a few percentage
points – for the EU15 countries from 29% to 28%; and for the EU12
countries from 27% to 26%.
2100
2090
2080
2070
2060
2050
2040
2030
2020
2010
2000
1990
1980
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2060
2050
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2010
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1990
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1950
0 .4
0 .4
Three parts of this (short) presentation:
1.
The essentials
Something to keep in mind
2.
The key issue
3.
The need for an alternative view?
• With respect to fertility
• Increase in workforce
• Increase in productivity
• Migration
• And also: (the need for) Intergenerational solidarity
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The need for an alternative view?
1.
With respect to fertility
• Higher fertility levels are not a ‘remedy’ against the ‘negative’ effects
of an older population structure
• A TFR=2.1 (as compared to a TFR=1.85) will hardly affect (lower)
the percentage of persons 65 and more in society
• It should be recognized that mortality – i.e. the increase in life
expectancy – is the main ‘motor’ of ‘population ageing (and not
fertility)
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The need for an alternative view?
2.
Increase in the workforce
•
It has been demonstrated elsewhere that an increase in
employment rates (in conjunction with increased productivity) may
largely ‘offset’ the shrinking of the number of ‘active’ persons
related to ‘population ageing’.
•
However, unemployment rates remain high in the EU area
•
One prerequisite would be more women in the workforce. But
does this need to be pursued for economic reasons or rather in
pursuit for a more egalitarian society?
•
Another (often suggested) solution is to increase the age at
retirement. But studies (eg., DIALOG) show that citizens are rather
hostile to this idea. Flexibility could be the key-issue for success,
incl. the possibility to combine retirement and part-time work.
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The need for an alternative view?
3.
Increase in productivity
•
Life-long learning is being promoted in this respect. But are
citizens ready for it? Studies indicate (cf. Workshop 5) that citizens
do not support the idea without proper incentives. Also, a majority
of citizens appear to prioritize the learning of foreign languages –
rather than increasing competencies in, for example,
entrepreneurship or ICT.
•
On the other hand, to the extent that the much needed higher
productivity is related to improved technology, there is a clear
need for better education.
•
However, should this be done with the sole purpose of increased
productivity – i.e., in order to better match labour market needs
and business -, or rather/also with the overall objective of creating
a ‘knowledge-based’ society, for the benefit of all?
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The need for an alternative view?
4.
More migration?
•
In the long run, international migration is no solution for
‘population ageing’:
 also migrants grow old and also those from outside the EU have in the
long run small numbers of children
 it must be recognized that international migration can only be a
‘remedy’ against declining population numbers (which would then
imply a sustained influx of migrants)
•
‘Return’ migration might be a workable solution, but only when
achieved in close collaboration with the sending countries.
•
However, migration between member states should be encouraged
and being facilitated.
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The need for an alternative view?
5.
The need for more intergenerational solidarity
•
In general, citizens regard older people as non-productive for
society
•
The need for more civil education and more insight in demographic
processes:
•
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
Lack of a ‘life-course’ perspective

Sense of ‘intergenerational solidarity’ appears to increase with age
As was the case for higher productivity, better education would be
a key element in achieving more intergenerational solidarity.
To conclude
• Better education appears to be a key element in preparing for
a society with an older population structure.
• One should, however, avoid making the mistake to focus on
‘more productivity’ alone – it is of equal importance to take into
account the need for more ‘intergenerational solidarity’.
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Thank you for your attention
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