Global Research Resources





by World Bank Group

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Health and ageing singapore  


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The world is aging at an unprecedented pace. In the coming decades, large and small, industrialized and developing countries alike, with few exceptions, will experience a rapid growth in the proportion of their populations age 65 or older, driven by longer lifespans and declining birthrates. With this looming demographic transformation, a healthier, more productive, and more engaged older population is essential to building a prosperous and sustainable future. As such, a rethinking of the role of older adults in our communities and economies is imperative. AARP and FP Analytics have partnered to conduct an in-depth study of aging policy in 12 countries to produce the Aging Readiness and Competitiveness (ARC) Report. Read more here




Brazil only became an “aging” society in 2012, but the share of its population age 65 and older is projected to triple by 2050, driven by improved life expectancy and declining fertility rates. As Brazil’s population is still relatively young, aging has not yet become a matter of wide public interest. Over the past two elections, in 2014 and 2016, not a single major candidate for president or mayor talked specifically about older Brazilians.


Lack of attention to this looming demographic shift is clear in the government’s failure to fully implement policies that have been on the books since the 1980s to protect the rights and interests of senior citizens. However, there are positive signs in recent moves by the government, including a push to build age-friendly cities and healthcare plans oriented specifically toward older Brazilians. Read more here





In 2015, for the first time, Canadians age 65 and older outnumbered those younger than 15. Even though older adults make up a smaller share of the population in Canada than in many OECD countries, the growth of this segment has dramatically outpaced that of the general population every year since 2011, when the post-World War II baby boomers started to turn 65. By 2026, Canada is expected to become a “super-aged” society as the share of people age 65 and older will exceed 21 percent of the total population.


Coupled with the ageing population is the slowing growth of Canada’s workforce, which could threaten the country’s long-term prosperity. As a result, the government has made it a priority to encourage the labor participation of all adults, including older workers, through national programs that have effectively helped with job placement for older unemployed workers. Older Canadians’ economic engagement is also being facilitated by their greater digital aptitude than that of their counterparts in many other OECD countries, partly thanks to efforts made by the federal and provincial governments, as well as community and non-profit organizations, to narrow the digital divide. Both the public and private sectors have also stepped up efforts to develop and commercialize digital products and solutions that meet the needs of older adults. Read more here




China is home to nearly a quarter of the world’s population age 60 or older, which is projected to double over the next two decades. The country is growing old before it gets rich. The fast aging of the population is coupled with simultaneous change in the family structure, as a result of one-child policy adopted in late 1970s, as well as rapidly growing urbanization and migration. These unique circumstances are driving a need for the country to enhance its social infrastructure and to develop new models to accommodate a healthy, productive, and active aging population.


The Chinese government has responded to the demographic transformation with policies to support older adults’ independent living and social engagement. With the most aged population among developing countries in this study, China is also a leader on increasing access to long-term care and improving the quality of healthcare for older adults. As the economy slows down and shifts toward a more consumption-driven growth model, the government is eagerly seeking to turn the service sector for older adults into a new growth engine and to integrate digital technologies with new products and solutions for older adults. Read more now




Germany is currently one of only five “super-aged” societies in the world, and its population of those age 65 and older will continue to grow, reaching nearly one-third of the total population by 2050. In light of this demographic shift, German policymakers are working to increase labor force participation among older adults through various training and education programs as well as retirement system reforms. While labor force participation is still relatively low, Germany’s older adults have high levels of volunteerism, partly thanks to the government’s endeavors to create various opportunities for older adults to remain active in their communities.


Germany is a leader in leveraging digital technology to accommodate a healthier and more engaged older population, and the government has established programs geared toward helping older adults gain the necessary skills to use basic technologies. The country’s healthcare sector has begun to embrace e-health solutions as a part of a broader effort to improve service to the older population. Germany is also one of the few countries with mandatory long-term care (LTC) insurance. In order to address the growing need for care, the government has been working to broaden the scope and inclusivity of its LTC system, placing particular focus on improving conditions for both recipients and providers of home-based care. Read more here



Israel stands out among high-income countries for its relatively young population. Although its population age 65 and older is projected to more than double through 2050, Israel will still have the youngest population among OECD countries, largely a result of its comparatively high fertility rate. Despite the lack of demographic pressure, Israel has been ahead of its time in terms of developing various long-standing social programs and a robust network of support for community centers and caregivers to accommodate a healthier, and more productive and engaged older population. This is partly thanks to cultural values focused on social inclusivity, as well as honoring the generations who founded and built the country.


Israel boasts high levels of labor force participation, compared with other OECD countries. The government actively engages in promoting the employment of older people and improving their employability, often in collaboration with non-governmental organizations (NGOs). For a relatively young country, Israel also stands out for its early planning to ensure access to, and comfort with, technology. In line with the “Startup Israel” ethos, tech companies are moving into the silver economy, innovating new products and services to ease access and improve well-being. Read more now




Japan became the world’s first “super-aged” society in 2006. Today, one in four Japanese citizens is 65 or older, and their share of the population will continue to grow, holding onto the country’s position as the world’s most aged society through 2050. The country stands out most because the population is not only aging but also shrinking. A falling birth rate and nearly zero net immigration have been the major contributors to this decline. At the forefront of aging societies, Japan is also a leader in preparing the country to accommodate a healthier and more productive and engaged older population.

The Japanese government has made employment opportunities for older adults a key component of its national strategy to revitalize the economy. The government has made significant efforts to assist job placement and extend the retirement age, contributing to the high level of older-age labor force participation, although enormous potential exists to further tap this productive opportunity. The government also recognizes the demographic shift as an incentive to boost productivity through innovations like robots, not only to close the labor force gap but also to address healthcare and nursing needs of the senior population. Read more here




Korea is among the most rapidly aging high-income countries, and it is projected to overtake Japan to become the most aged country in the world in 2060. The fast aging of the Korean population is partly a result of the country’s two baby booms, which emerged between 1955 and 1963 and between 1968 and 1974. The aging baby boomers tend to be better educated and wealthier than previous generations, representing an enormous economic and business opportunity for the country, particularly in terms of labor participation and technology adoption.

In light of this demographic transformation, the Korean government has increased its efforts to integrate aging-related policies into its broader economic and social-development agenda. While some of these efforts have been successful, others have caused notable controversy – particularly efforts to capitalize on productive potential in the older population. Policies aimed at extending older adults’ work life have intensified inter-generational tension as well as controversy over the net impact on older adults’ well-being. Read more here





Mexico is on the verge of a demographic sea change. Today, it remains a relatively young country with the second lowest percentage of people age 65 or older among countries covered in this study. However, the size of this group is projected to more than triple by 2050, largely driven by the country’s declining fertility rate. However, because older people remain a small share of the population today, the Mexican government has yet to prepare for the demographic shift and has not invested in the necessary infrastructure to support a healthy aging process.

Older Mexican adults have among the highest poverty and labor force-participation rates in the OECD, partly due to the country’s massive informal economy. Reducing labor informality has been a priority of President Peña Nieto’s administration. However, the government is not currently focused on implementing policies that would improve productive opportunity among the older-age labor force. Recognizing that aging is a looming issue, the government has begun to establish community-support infrastructure for older adults through its National Institute of Older Persons as well as long-term care infrastructure through the recently established National Institute of Geriatrics. However, the development of these initiatives is proceeding slowly, due to their low level of priority on the government’s policy agenda and a lack of resources afforded to the individual institutions. Read more here




With just 5 percent of its population currently age 65 and older, South Africa is the youngest of the countries included in this study and has yet to start aging. Thanks to a consistently high fertility rate, the share of the older population is growing at a much slower pace than other upper-middle-income countries. This lack of demographic pressure has given the government little incentive to prioritize aging-related issues on its policy agenda. Instead, it is focused on broader societal challenges – including poverty, crime and racial disparity – to which older people are particularly vulnerable.


With a focus on the alleviation of old-age poverty, enabling the development of productive skills for older adults has not been a priority of the South African government. Virtually no steps have been taken to increase their labor force participation rate or to provide training programs beyond literacy. There are also very few efforts specifically targeting seniors to help them obtain the knowledge to utilize basic forms of technology. However, in 2016 the government introduced a long-term strategy to improve accessibility to basic technologies for those who historically have been unable to acquire it, including older adults. Accessibility has also been an issue for older South Africans seeking both medical and long-term care. The government is attempting to address the health-related issues experienced by the older population through a comprehensive, large-scale reform of the whole system set for implementation by 2030, which will include prioritizing older adults at the primary care level. Read more here





Turkey’s 65 and older population will more than triple by 2050, aging at the second-fastest pace among OECD countries. While awareness of this demographic shift is gaining traction, it has yet to become a priority for the Turkish government, which has been grappling with other more immediate issues, including geopolitical and national security risks, economic slowdown, youth unemployment, and social stability.


The absence of aging among the government’s priorities is particularly evidenced in negligible efforts to tap productive opportunity among the older population. Although the ongoing gradual increases in pensionable age will help to boost economic participation among older adults, employment support for this group is limited. Similarly, older Turkish adults’ usage of the Internet is among the lowest in OECD, with a significant divide from the general population, and their access to training opportunities is limited. Read more here




Like many European countries, the UK has been an aged society for several decades, but as baby boomers are growing older, the country will see the pace of aging accelerate over the next two decades. The population of older adults is projected to grow by nearly 45 percent from 2015 through 2035, growing by 278,000 each year, almost ten times the average annual increase in the working population (15 through 64 years old).


As a result, there will be tremendous economic potential found in older people, if it can be harnessed through continued employment or other productive activity. While the UK already has higher labor participation by older adults than other major European economies, the government has been seeking new avenues to increase productive opportunities. Major efforts include fostering a more age-friendly labor market in addition and generating incentives through the pension and benefit system reforms. Read more here




Every day in the U.S., 10,000 people turn 65, and the number of older adults will more than double over the next several decades to top 88 million people and represent over 20 percent of the population by 2050. The rapid pace of change creates an opportunity and an imperative for both the public and private sector to harness the potential of the growing segment of society and to ensure the welfare of older Americans.

Americans’ increased longevity, coupled with the need to finance a growing share of their own care, are major factors driving older adults to delay retirement and remain in the labor force. While the U.S. labor force is expected to grow at just 0.5 percent over the next decade, adults over age 65 represent the fastest-growing segment. Recognizing this productive potential and the need to retain skilled workers and transfer institutional knowledge, companies and other employers are beginning to introduce phased-retirement and part-time work opportunities. Read more here


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Fragility fractures are already a significant public health challenge across Asia-Pacific. Their lasting impact on societies and economies is well-documented, leading to loss of mobility, independence and, in some instances, death for their elderly sufferers. In many traditional Asia-Pacific societies, where older people often serve as caregivers for younger generations, fractures can devastate entire families and communities. From a broader perspective, the cost of treating hip fractures in Asia-Pacific societies equates to 19% of GDP per capita, underscoring the enormity of the problem. Read more here

Business of Longevity   THE BUSINESS OF LONGEVITY

Some societies, many of them in Asia, are ageing especially quickly, and it is vital that scientists, policymakers and businesses consider the risks and opportunities this will bring. Living a long and healthy life is now easier than ever before, and that billions of people will do so is worth celebrating. Yet, at the same time, longevity has burdensome implications for everything from health care to housing and pensions.

As intergenerational relationships change, society must change too. The Economist’s rst ever Business of Longevity summit took place on October 27th 2017 at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Hong Kong. Chairing the event were Charles Goddard, editorial director for the Asia-Pacific at the Economist Intelligence Unit; Simon Cox, the emerging-markets editor at The Economist; and Laurel West, the managing director for content solutions in Asia at The Economist Group. Read more here


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