Getting ready for an older population
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The population of the world has been rising for over 200 years but some time later this century it’s predicted to peak. Demographers don’t know exactly when that will happen but they do know that we are already experiencing a demographic transition. Fertility rates are falling world wide. Fertility in China and India is below replacement rate. In developed countries populations are ageing; since 2013, a quarter of Japan’s population has been over 65, and within the next five years Japan will be joined by Finland, Germany, Italy, and Portugal. It’s easy to see ageing as a problem. After all, how will working age people fund the pensions of so many old people? But could technology massively raise productivity? Could falling populations put less stress on the planet, and offer us a world with less competition and more leisure and space? And if an older population is a problem, how to solve it? Can we encourage people to have more children? Or should rich countries let in more people? Shaun Ley is joined by a panel of experts: Jack Goldstone - Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University in Virginia, in the United States. Elma Laguna - Associate Professor of Demography and Director of the Population Institute, College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of the Philippines, Diliman. Frank Swiaczny - Senior Researcher at the Federal Institute for Population Research in Germany and Executive Director of the German Society for Demography. Image: An elderly man holding a walking stick. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
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