The population of western Europe is aging steadily, and the region's birthrate is well below the replacement level, but Europe's elderly are exceptionally healthy. That means they could be more productive for longer than their predecessors were. If western European governments learn to tap this potential, healthy aging could become the region's next great economic asset.
Speakers: Joseph F. Coughlin and Kelly Michel Presider: Michael W. Hodin
Joseph Coughlin and Kelly Michel discuss how a healthy and active aging population can contribute to economic growth, and the public policy reform, new business strategies, and profound shifts in views on aging necessary to take advantage of this opportunity.
Speakers: David Beers, Peter S. Heller, and Michael W. Hodin Presider: Michael Waldholz
Experts discuss the effect of global aging on public policy and investor communities in relation to predicated health and social costs, as part of CFR's Corporate Program and the Roundtable Series on Aging Populations.
"It is hard to overstate how fast China is ageing. Life expectancy has more than doubled from 35 in 1949 to 75 today, a miraculous achievement. Meanwhile, the fertility rate has plummeted to 1.5 or lower, far below the 2.1 needed to keep a population stable. Cai Fang, a demographer at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, says the country will have moved from labour surplus to labour shortage at the fastest pace in history."
"The share of the working-age population (ages 15-64) will decline in China between 2010 and 2030 nearly as fast as it will in Japan, the U.S. and other wealthy nations. Switching to a two-child policy could even make things worse over the next 20 year, because more births would mean that working parents would have more dependents to care for, the economists note."
Prepared by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, this report provides the first comprehensive quantitative assessment for how prepared countries are to address the challenges of aging populations.
Many Asian countries (such as China, Singapore, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, and the Philippines) will experience a significant aging of their populations during the next several decades. This paper from the IMF explores how these aging Asian countries are addressing and anticipating the challenges of an aging society. It suggests that Asia's preparedness for an aging population is decidedly mixed. While growth policies have been successful, much work is still needed in many countries to establish an adequate and farsighted policy framework in the areas of pensions, health insurance, and labor market policies.
Peter Orszag explains that employment, in and of itself, may provide health benefits in the form of decreased rates of depression, increased mobility, and improved life expectancy as compared to those who are unemployed or retired.
Michael W. Hodin says the global forecast for Alzheimer's is not good, arguing, "If we don't make significant strides in prevention, treatment and cures, Alzheimer's will turn the miracle of longevity into a society-wide curse."
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.