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The World’s 15 ‘Oldest’ Countries and the U.S.

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1 The World’s 15 ‘Oldest’ Countries and the U.S.
Percent Age 65 or Older Except for Japan, the world’s 15 oldest countries are all in Europe. The U.S. population is relatively “young” by European standards, with less than 13 percent age 65 or older, ranking as the 38th oldest country. The aging of the baby-boom generation in the United States will push the proportion of older Americans to 20 percent by 2030; it will still be lower than in most Western European countries. The older share of the population is expected to more than double between 2000 and 2030 in Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. Aging is occurring more slowly in sub-Saharan Africa, where relatively high birth rates are keeping the population “young.” Sources: Carl Haub, 2006 World Population Data Sheet.

2 Notes on the World’s 15 ‘Oldest’ Countries and the U.S.
Except for Japan, the world’s 15 oldest countries are all in Europe. The U.S. population is relatively “young” by European standards, with less than 13 percent age 65 or older, ranking as the 38th oldest country. The aging of the baby-boom generation in the United States will push the proportion of older Americans to 20 percent by 2030; it will still be lower than in most Western European countries. The older share of the population is expected to more than double between 2000 and 2030 in Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. Aging is occurring more slowly in sub-Saharan Africa, where relatively high birth rates are keeping the population “young.”

3 Speed of Population Aging in Selected Countries
Number of Years for Percent of Population Age 65 or Older to Rise from 7% to 14% More developed countries Less developed countries Aging has proceeded more gradually in more developed countries than in less developed countries, affording these nations time to adjust to this structural change. Japan is the major exception, doubling its percent of population age 65 or older in just 26 years. Other countries in East and Southeast Asia (especially China, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand) are on a similarly rapid trajectory, fueled by dramatic and relatively recent drops in fertility. * Dates show the span of years when percent of population age 65 or older rose (or is projected to rise) from 7 percent to 14 percent. Source: K. Kinsella and Y.J. Gist, Older Workers, Retirement, and Pensions: A Comparative International Chartbook (1995) and K. Kinsella and D. Phillips, “The Challenge of Global Aging,” Population Bulletin 60, no. 1 (2005).

4 Notes on Speed of Population Aging
Aging has proceeded more gradually in more developed countries than in less developed countries, affording these nations time to adjust to this structural change. Japan is the major exception, doubling its percent of population age 65 or older in just 26 years. Other countries in East and Southeast Asia (especially China, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand) are on a similarly rapid trajectory, fueled by dramatic and relatively recent drops in fertility.

5 Percent Widowed Among Older Australians, Malaysians, and Croatians, Circa 2000 Australia, Malaysia, Croatia, 2000 For both men and women, the proportion married decreases with older age and the proportion widowed increases. In almost every society, older men are more likely to be married and older women are more likely to be widowed. Gender differences in marital status reflect the interplay of several factors, for example, women live longer than men; women tend to marry men older than themselves, which, combined with the sex difference in life expectancy, increases the chance that a woman’s husband will die before she does; and older widowed men have higher remarriage rates than older widowed women in many countries, often as a function of cultural norms. Age Age Age Source: Compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau from national sources.

6 Notes on Percent Widowed
For both men and women, the proportion married decreases with older age and the proportion widowed increases. In almost every society, older men are more likely to be married and older women are more likely to be widowed. Gender differences in marital status reflect the interplay of several factors, for example, women live longer than men; women tend to marry men older than themselves, which, combined with the sex difference in life expectancy, increases the chance that a woman’s husband will die before she does; and older widowed men have higher remarriage rates than older widowed women in many countries, often as a function of cultural norms.

7 Older Canadians Living Alone, 1961 to 2001
Age 65 or Older In Thousands In Canada, the increase in the number of older people living alone has largely been fueled by women. This increase reflects several trends: women live longer than men; women tend to marry older men, which, combined with the sex difference in life expectancy, increases the chance that a woman’s husband will die before she does; older widowed men have higher remarriage rates than older widowed women in many countries, often as a function of cultural norms. Older-person-only households (especially unmarried women) are increasingly common. However, the most common “older household” in many Western countries consists of two older people. Source: Statistics Canada, national census data.

8 Notes on Older Canadians Living Alone
In Canada, the increase in the number of older people living alone has largely been fueled by women. This increase reflects several trends: women live longer than men; women tend to marry older men, which, combined with the sex difference in life expectancy, increases the chance that a woman’s husband will die before she does; older widowed men have higher remarriage rates than older widowed women in many countries, often as a function of cultural norms. Older-person-only households (especially unmarried women) are increasingly common. However, the most common “older household” in many Western countries consists of two older people.

9 Living Arrangements of Older Japanese
Percent In Japan, as well as in Hong Kong, China, and Korea, significant numbers of older people live alone and the share living with children is falling rapidly. Multigenerational households have been declining in more developed countries over the past several decades. At one time, living alone was thought to indicate social isolation or family abandonment of older people. However, research in more developed countries consistently shows that older people prefer to reside in their own homes and communities, even if that means living alone. Note: Includes small numbers living in unspecified arrangements Sources: M. Atoh, “Who Takes Care of Children and the Elderly in an Aging Society?” (October 1998); and Japan National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, “Housing With Seniors: ” (www.jinjapan.org/insight/html/focus10/page08.html, accessed March 13, 2003).

10 Notes on Living Arrangements of Older Japanese
In Japan, as well as in Hong Kong, China, and Korea, significant numbers of older people live alone and the share living with children is falling rapidly. Multigenerational households have been declining in more developed countries over the past several decades. At one time, living alone was thought to indicate social isolation or family abandonment of older people. However, research in more developed countries consistently shows that older people prefer to reside in their own homes and communities, even if that means living alone.

11 Women and Aging Projected World Population, by Sex, at Specified Age Groups, 2025 Percent Men Women The figure above depicts what demographers refer to as the feminization of aging. Although women make up half of world population, by the end of the next quarter century, they will account for more than half (54 percent) of people ages 60 and older, and 63 percent of very old people (80 and older). Source: United Nations, World Population Prospects:The 2004 Revision (medium scenario), 2005.

12 Notes on Women and Aging
• The figure above depicts what demographers refer to as the feminization of aging. Although women make up half of world population, by the end of the next quarter century, they will account for more than half (54 percent) of people ages 60 and older, and 63 percent of very old people (80 and older).

13 Trends in Aging, by World Region
Population Ages 65 and Older Percent By 2025, over 20 percent of the population in more developed regions will be ages 65 and older. By 2025, one-tenth of the world’s population will be age 65 or older. Asia will see the proportion of its elderly population almost double, from about 6 percent in 2000 to 10 percent in In absolute terms, this represents a stark increase in just 25 years: from about 216 million to about 480 million older people. Source: United Nations, World Population Prospects: The 2004 Revision (medium scenario), 2005.

14 Notes on Trends in Aging, by World Region
• By 2025, over 20 percent of the population in more developed regions will be ages 65 and older. • By 2025, one-tenth of the world’s population will be age 65 or older. • Asia will see the proportion of its elderly population almost double, from about 6 percent in 2000 to 10 percent in In absolute terms, this represents a stark increase in just 25 years: from about 216 million to about 480 million older people.

15 Aging in China Percent of Elderly (65+) in China’s Population, Due to vast improvements in health over the past five decades, life expectancy at birth has increased by two-thirds from 40.8 to 71.5 years between 1955 and 2005. The percent of elderly in China is projected to triple from 8 percent to 24 percent between 2006 and 2050. Because chronic health problems become more common in old age, China’s population aging has led to increases in the country’s prevalence of chronic disease and disability. Source: World Population Prospects: The 2004 Revision (2005).

16 Notes on Aging in China Due to vast improvements in health over the past five decades, life expectancy at birth has increased by two-thirds from 40.8 to 71.5 years between 1955 and 2005. The percent of elderly in China is projected to triple from 8 percent to 24 percent between 2006 and 2050. Because chronic health problems become more common in old age, China’s population aging has led to increases in the country’s prevalence of chronic disease and disability.

17 China’s Age Distribution
Population Structures by Age and Sex Millions 1950 2000 2050 Age Age 0-4 0-4 Male Female Male Female Male Female This figure illustrates China’s shrinking young and working-age population and growing elderly population. Dramatic fertility decline (due to the success of the “one-child” policy) and improved longevity over the past two decades are causing China’s population to age at one of the fastest rates ever recorded. China now faces the prospect of having too few children to support its rapidly aging population. Meeting the health and long-term care needs of this growing elderly population will result in soaring health care costs and fewer working-age people to share the burden. Source: World Population Prospects: The 2004 Revision (2005).

18 Notes on China’s Age Distribution
This figure illustrates China’s shrinking young and working-age population and growing elderly population. Dramatic fertility decline (due to the success of the “one-child” policy) and improved longevity over the past two decades are causing China’s population to age at one of the fastest rates ever recorded. China now faces the prospect of having too few children to support its rapidly aging population. Meeting the health and long-term care needs of this growing elderly population will result in soaring health care costs and fewer working-age people to share the burden.


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