World?s older population grows dramatically

World?s older population grows dramatically

Washington (ISJ) - The world?s older population continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. Today, 8.5 percent of people worldwide (617 million) are aged 65 and over. According to a new report, ?An�Ageing�World: 2015,? this percentage is projected to jump to nearly 17 percent of the world?s population by 2050 (1.6 billion).

?An�Ageing�World: 2015? was produced by the U.S. Census Bureau and the World Health Organisation. The report examines the demographic, health and socio-economic trends accompanying the growth of the ageing population.

In 2015, the total population of India stood at 1.3 billion. It is projected that 10 years from now, by 2025, India will surpass China and become the most populous country in the world. However, these two population giants are on drastically different paths of population aging, thanks largely to different historical fertility trends. Although both China and India introduced family planning programs decades ago, the fertility level in India has remained well above the level in China since the 1970s. Historic fertility levels have affected the pace of aging in these two countries. In 2015, the older population in China represents 10.1 percent of its total population, while the share is only 6.0 percent in India.

By 2030, after India is projected to have overtaken China in terms of total population, 8.8 percent of India?s population will be aged 65 and older, or 128.9 million people. In contrast, in the same year, China will have nearly twice the number and share of older population (238.8 million and 17.2 percent). By 2050, it is projected that China will have 100 million more older people than India, 348.8 million compared with 243.4 million, even though China?s projected total population of 1.304 billion will be 352.8 million fewer than India?s total population of 1.657 billion.

?Older people are a rapidly growing proportion of the world?s population,? said National Institute of Ageing (NIA) Director Richard J. Hodes. ?People are living longer, but that does not necessarily mean that they are living healthier. The increase in our aeging population presents many opportunities and also several public health challenges that we need to prepare for.?

The report contains detailed information about life expectancy, gender balance, health, mortality, disability, health care systems, labour force participation and retirement, pensions and poverty among older people around the world.

Highlights of the report include

  • By 2050, global life expectancy at birth is projected to increase by almost eight years, climbing from 68.6 years in 2015 to 76.2 years in 2050.

  • The global population of the ?oldest old? ? people aged 80 and older ? is expected to more than triple between 2015 and 2050, growing from 126.5 million to 446.6 million. The oldest old population in some Asian and Latin American countries is predicted to quadruple by 2050.

  • Among the older population worldwide, non-communicable diseases are the main health concern. In low-income countries, many in Africa, the older population faces a considerable burden from both non-communicable and communicable diseases.

  • Risk factors ? such as tobacco and alcohol use, insufficient consumption of vegetables and fruit, and low levels of physical activity ? directly or indirectly contribute to the global burden of disease. Changes in risk factors have been observed, such as a decline in tobacco use in some high-income countries, with the majority of smokers worldwide now living in low- and middle-income countries.

Source: US National Institute of Health

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