Ageing Population Growth: Crisis or Potential?

Ageing population is rapidly expanding. The dramatic increment on elderly’s population growth rate reported in recent years is a global phenomenon. According to UN, the global elderly population is 841 million in 2013 and is expected to double to more than 2 billion in 2050.

They are growing more than 2 per cent each year and substantially faster than the other group of community. Similar ageing patents are expected to continue to go on as the global share of older people aged 60 years and above had increased from 9.2 per cent in 1990 to 11.7 per cent in 2013, and projected to grow to be the world population reaching 21.1 per cent by 2050 (UN, 2013).

What Are The Factors That Influence Ageing Population Growth?

So what are the actual factors that drive to the growth of ageing population? We have two major factors to discuss.

1. Longevity

Reports said that is it due to how longevity has really improved in our modern living culture, practice and environment. According to United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Ageing Report published on 2012, “Increasing longevity is one of humanity’s greatest achievements. People live longer because of improved nutrition, sanitation, medical advances, health care, education and economic well-being” (UN, 2012).

2. Fertility

The ageing issue is related to fertility factor as well, as reported in the recent global study by UN where the population ageing which happened in nearly all the countries of the world was resulted from decreasing mortality and declines in fertility.

The situation has led to a relative reduction in the proportion of children, and to an increase in the share of people in the main working ages and of older persons in the population (UN, 2013). In addition, there will be almost 400 million people aged 80 years or older by the year 2050 and the majority of middle-aged adults will have living parent (WHO, 2012).

Crisis or Potential?

As discussed above, the world is ageing progressively fast. The phenomenon creates major concern on what should and would happened next.

World Readiness and Support

Based on past and recent news reports responding to the issues, they have found out that the world readiness and support toward major growth of ageing population are still not there. Effort taken by nations is not quick and enough to cope with an ageing population which is faster than ever before (Gelineau, 2013).

Waste of Skills and Knowledge

For the first time in the history, older persons age 60 and above will exceed and outnumbered the children by the year 2047 (UN, 2013). The report warned that the skills and knowledge that older people have acquired are going to waste, with many of them underemployed, underactive and more likely to become a drain on a nation’s resources (Spillius & Ryall, 2012).

Welfare Cost and Health Support

The ageing population issue was a serious concern among nations where several warning and alert have been made by the elderly community and local charities demanding for a revise on policy or scheme to stand the impact of the crisis (BBC, 2013; Davidson, 2013).

The tremendous achievement in medical science has led to an improved and better longevity but as people live longer, elderly’s welfare will expands resulting to dramatic increment of welfare cost and health support (Ross, 2013).

Labor Market Interruption

Moreover, ageing population will interrupt labor market as well. Working-age and pension scheme need to be revised as there is less labor force in youth and younger people. Older persons will still have to work, especially in developing countries.

UN reported that in 2010, older men aged 65 years have made up a large majority of total labor force among older persons. In more developed worlds, they have to opt out for other options such as importing immigrants (Swinford, 2013) and seeking women workers to reduce the strain of ageing population’s crisis (Evans & Li, 2013).

New Power for Development

On the half, some said ageing population growth should not be seen as a crisis. WHO have noted that the older people as the new power for development. As the elderly is projected to become the majority of the world population by 2050, chronologically they will actively play a critical role in human development activities such as voluntary work, knowledge and experience sharing and many others contribution to the society.

Potential Opportunity

According to UNFPA Ageing Report 2012, the ageing population problem can be diverting to be a potential opportunity if there is a good transformation plan. This report have prepare 10 priority actions on how to maximize the opportunity of aging population which can be seen as interesting and compelling effort and idea for quality of live investments for elderly population which are feasible even for poorer countries.


Most of the priority actions mentioned in the report obviously has stressed out on the important of the inclusion of the elderly in any government plan or programs especially to benefit new technology. As cited in the report, technology can alleviate the disadvantage, isolation and marginalization experienced by many older persons (UN, 2013).

Moreover, technology such as the internet can assure better safety for the elderly by at facilitating daily needs and requirement such as paying bill, healthcare information access, communication and others. Information technology can contribute more for the elderly population if there is a good and proper transformation plan and infrastructure readiness.


[1] United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2013). World Population Ageing 2013. ST/ESA/SER.A/348.
[2] United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and HelpAge International (2012). Ageing in the Twenty First Century_A celebration and a challenge.
[3] Gelineau, K. (January, 2013). Aging Population: Support for World Elderly Won’t Be There, Report Suggests. The Associated Press.
[4] Spillius, A., & Ryall, J. (October, 2012). World Faces Ageing Population Time Bomb says UN. The Telegraph.
[5] BBC Health (September, 2013). BBC. Charities Warn Government Over Ageing Population.
[6] Davidson, H. (November, 2013). Ageing Australian Population Demands Radical Measures, Commission Warns. The Guardian.
[7] Ross, T. (July, 2013). Ageing Population Pushes Welfare Bill to Crisis Point. The Telegraph.
[8] Swinford, S. (July, 2013). Britain Needs Millions More Immigrants to Reduce Strain of Ageing Population. The Telegraph.
[9] Evans, R., & Lion, F. (November 2013). Hong Kong Seeks More Women Workers as Aging Population Looms. Bloomberg.