post by Zhenying Tang Nowadays, people are trying to apply robots in many fields, such as education, manufacture and so on, because we can order them to do anything we want by programming, and they can achieve the goals people expect effectively. As for a student in...
Category: Ageing societies
post by Samantha MeynellAgeing is one of the only life processes which is inevitable. Some people fear old age; some people embrace it. But with the rate of ageing increasing, should we be concerned? With issues such as a rise in pension costs and inadequate health...
post by Laura Brewis Both the population of the United Kingdom and the global population are ageing at a high rate. This is both in terms of the proportion of a society that the elderly make up and the absolute number of older people within a population. These...
Since the early days of the Industrial Revolution the world has undergone rapid changes. The development of advanced technologies has greatly reduced work time and enhanced productivity; as a result, people’s living standards have been improved dramatically, and there is an exponential increase in the world’s population. However, although there is a continuous growth in the world’s population, the United Nations state that the group of people in their middle ages gradually makes up the main part of the total population.
With baby boomers all turning 60 in the coming years, we will continue to see the average age of the global population increase and the number societies faced with an ageing population rise imminently. The United Nations reported in 2015 that there were 901 million people aged 60 years or over and projected that by 2050 the global population of older persons would be more than double that of 2015, reaching nearly 2.1 billion. We cannot hide from the fact that the global population is getting older, and it will bring about a slew of challenges. Articles such as those mentioned above depict an ageing population as an inevitable threat to our current state of living.
Populations across the globe are becoming increasingly older, developed and developing countries alike. This is due to a number of various reasons. This blog post will address these reasons, along with reasons an ageing population may cause issues within societies. Yet, it will also explore how these negative ideas surrounding the older generation are socially constructed.
The media portray the generation of ‘baby boomers’ as future stealing, Lord Sugar type pensioners who sit on wealth at the expense of the young. However, I’m not sure this is entirely fair. Through considering statistics and news articles, this is evidently an ill-considered debate that masks the role of the policy makers who are deliberately causing an intergenerational divide and eroding 21st Century citizenship.
Nowadays, there are more elderly people than ever before. To provide them with means of living when retired, pension systems were introduced. The first such system was introduced in Germany by chancellor Otto von Bismarck in 1889, a compulsory social insurance scheme into which both workers and employers paid contributions. This scheme – the ‘Gesetz zur Alters- und Invaliditätsversicherung’ – allowed workers to retire with annuity pension when they turned 70. In 1916, the pensionable age was lowered to 65. However, at the time, average life expectancy was 45 years. Now, over 100 years later, an average German citizen is expected to live over 70 years and the retirement age will soon be increased to 67. Why do developed societies age so fast and how can governments prevent pension funds from going bust or paying next to nothing pensions?
As the baby boomers retire and more people live well into their 80s, making the ‘oldest old’ one of the fastest growing demographic categories according to Timonen (2008), questions have to be asked about what rights are in place for the elderly. How can public space be adapted to accommodate the elderly? Can social isolation be prevented? And who will support the Millenials financially? These questions highlight the political, environmental, social and economic considerations of ageing. Improvements to public health, nutrients and medical advancements leading to increasing life expectancies, particularly in MEDCS, are putting these questions at the front of sociologist’s minds.
As a young Japanese woman, I would like to discuss the ageing society in Japan with focus on its political ramifications. The latest figures show that Japan’s population has reached a total of 126,903,000, of which 27.2% are aged 65 or over, while those younger than 14 years old are just 12.4% (Statistics of Population, 2017). The percentage of senior citizens has been increasing ever since the postwar period when the country made tremendous progress in many fields including medical research, which has led to an improvement in the population’s longevity. Likewise, it is estimated that the number of people aged 65 or above will continue to grow. As shown in Table 2.7, Japan’s population as a whole will soon start to shrink, while the proportion of the old will not stop to expand. Consequently, by 2060 the population will decline by 30% and almost 40% will be comprised of the old.