Making the most of an ageing world (summary)
The age-old yearning for a long life is a reality for growing numbers of men and women around the world. Yet our great good fortune to be the beneficiaries of a long life expectancy is taken for granted. It is even viewed as a looming crisis that could break the bank of government finances. Is increased life expectancy a demographer's dream or an economist's nightmare? This paper examines the challenges and opportunities posed by global population ageing. Although it relies heavily on examples from the United States, where appropriate or available, data from other countries, especially in more developed regions of the world, are highlighted. At the end of the paper, a variety of strategies that can help societies adjust to population ageing are suggested. These strategies apply to ageing societies of varying levels of development. While population ageing has raised concerns about its effects on the rate of economic growth, there are many advantages of slowing population growth. Congestion and pollution will be lessened.