A grey area: Asia’s elderly
Asia’s ageing population will come under discussion today at a conference in Tehran, co-hosted by the Iranian government, the United Nations and HelpAge International, an NGO. Unlike the West, some Asian countries will grow old before they get rich. Deloitte, a consultancy, reckons that by 2030 the region will account for three-fifths of the world’s over 65s. The elderly are living longer with better access to health care. Younger ones are marrying late, causing fertility rates to drop sharply. Not only are Asia’s nuclear families getting smaller but many sons and daughters migrate in search of jobs. Countries’ shrinking workforces will bear the brunt of the cost: spending on the older generation will amount to $20trn in the next 15 years. In countries like India nine out of ten work in the informal sector, excluding them from pension schemes. Government-sponsored family-planning programmes sometimes hurt the demographic balance. Lots for delegates to talk about then.
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