These demographic trends have a number of implications for government and private spending on pensions, health care, and education and, more generally, for economic growth and welfare. This indicator is measured as a percentage of population.
- Elderly population.
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- Population ageing.
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Working to support an ageing population - EU Demographic Scenarios | EU Science Hub
My pinboard Add this view Go to pinboard. Perspectives TOT. Countries Highlighted Countries Highlight countries Find a country by name. Currently highlighted Remove all. Time yearly quarterly monthly latest data available. Examine the sociological factors that allow people to live longer lives in industrialized versus non-industrialized nations, such as better access to health care. The number of individuals living into old age is growing worldwide. Biological markers for old age such as wrinkles, grey hair, memory loss, etc.
All of these factors vary by culture. Nevertheless, the fact is that people are living longer and are therefore more prone to encounter issues associated with old age. In industrialized nations, life expectancy has increased consistently over the last decades. In the United States, the proportion of people aged 65 or older increased from 4 percent in to about 12 percent in In , only about 3 million Americans were 65 or older, out of a total population of 76 million Americans.
By , the number of senior citizens had increased to 35 million out of million Americans. Population experts estimate that more than 50 million Americans, or 17 percent of the population, will be 65 or older in The number of older Americans has spiked in recent years due to the age of baby boomers—the generation that was born in the twenty years following World War II.
As soldiers returned from war, families began to grow. This generation is now beginning to enter their older years. The United States Census provides more specific information about the make up of older Americans. According to the census, there has been rapid growth among the elderly segment of the population in recent years. The population of people aged 65 and older grew at a faster rate than the total population. While women still live longer than men, the gender gap among seniors is narrowing. Further, there appear to be regional divides in the demographic breakdown of senior citizens.
The South had the largest number of people aged 65 and up, while the Northeast had the largest percentage of people aged 65 and up. In , 53, centenarians, or people over the age of , lived in the United States, a 5. This means that 1 out of every 5, Americans is over the age of While the trend of an older population appears worldwide, people in industrialized nations are older than people in non-industrialized nations. While people in almost all countries are living longer than prior generations, people in industrialized nations still live longer than people in non-industrialized nations.
Some of this difference can be attributed to disparities in health care—easier access to pervasive biotechnology in industrialized nations means that people live longer. Other factors include poverty and a generally more strenuous lifestyle, which can cause health problems and a lower life expectancy. Aging to sex ratios show women living longer than men, but this gap has been quickly narrowing since Women tend to live longer than men in almost every country.
In Japan, men generally live to about 79, whereas women live to However, in the United States, that gender gap is beginning to close. The percentage of men aged 65 and up grew faster than the percentage of women aged 65 and up, according to the census.
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For example, the number of men aged 85 to 94 grew However, for the very oldest members of the population, the gender gap still holds true. The United States Census reports that of the 53, centenarians, or people over the age of , In other words, out of the entire American population, 1 out of every 3, females is a centenarian while only 1 out or 16, males is a centenarian. Thus, even though the gender gap is narrowing, women are still expected to live longer than men. A Comparison of Genders : This graph illustrates the differences in life expectancy at birth for males and females in the United States, from to These figures could be due, in part, to the sex ratio.
The sex ratio is the ratio of men to women in a given society or country. The current sex ratio for the world is females to males. In the United States, the ratio is males to every females. However, men tend to live riskier lives, are more prone to heart disease and cancer, and women are therefore likely to live longer than men. In fact, cancer deaths among men are per , cases, whereas women are only per , from the National Cancer Institute. Why women live longer than men is not perfectly understood. Several factors contribute to the overall trend.
For example, men statistically engage in more behaviors that put their lives at risk than women, which reduces their life expectancy. Another factor that may contribute to the greater life expectancy of women is the different types of jobs men and women tend to have during their lifetimes, with men more frequently doing physical labor that could wear the body down or increase the odds of injury.
Other biological factors likely play a role, including greater cardiovascular health among women. Aging and its Trials : Are the problems the elderly face a result of their age, or are their other, more influential, factors involved, such as race? Individuals of different racial backgrounds experience aging —and the health issues associated with it—differently. Before turning to the medical concerns that accompany aging, one should note that elders of different racial backgrounds also experience different frequencies of elder abuse.
Elder abuse is a general term to describe certain types of harm that are inflicted upon older adults. The most common form of elder abuse is neglect or improper care for vulnerable seniors. Unfortunately, this is usually inflicted by people whom the elder trusts and who are responsible for caring for the elder, such as family members or caretakers at elder homes.
Research indicates that black senior citizens are more likely to be abused than white citizens. Further, medical concerns present differently for white seniors and minority seniors. Black and Hispanic seniors are more likely to encounter cardiac problems earlier than white seniors. However, these outcome disparities are not usually the result of biological determinants of health, which means that minority populations are not biologically less healthy than white populations. Rather, the disparity in medical outcomes is more likely attributed to social determinants of health, which are socioeconomic conditions that bear on health.
For example, black and Hispanic populations are more likely to encounter financial hardship and therefore eat less healthy food, which potentially leads to health problems. In addition, individuals from a poorer socioeconomic background are less likely to have had access to healthcare throughout their whole lives. This lack of access ultimately leads to medical concerns in old age. Thus, while one can make generalizations about elder health by comparing racial categories, these differences are frequently caused by differences in socioeconomic status rather than race.
In order to assist the elderly with their living and healthcare costs, the U.
Examine the programs made available to the elderly to assist with quality of life, such as Social Security and Medicare, and the looming crises with these particular programs. The elderly have financial difficulties primarily because they are too old to hold a job, and thus have no regular income, yet they incur large medical expenses as a result of diminishing health. However, due to the improvement in medical technology, more seniors are living longer and more fulfilling lives, yet still struggle financially.
Because of this trend of impoverishment, the United States has enacted social policies designed to help the elderly manage their financial woes. Major policy efforts include Social Security, a social welfare program that taxes the current working sector to give money to individuals in retirement, and Medicare, a federal program that subsidizes medical costs for seniors. Prior to the introduction of Social Security, the elderly were the poorest age group in the United States.
With the introduction of Social Security, poverty rates of the elderly in the United States have dropped dramatically. Between and , the official poverty rate of those aged 65 and above fell from 35 percent to 10 percent, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. However, due to a lack of funds, that number is beginning to increase once again. Social Security is designed to redistribute wealth temporarily in order to help seniors finance their lives after retirement.
In this program, the current workforce is taxed, the results of which flow into a special fund designated for Social Security. Payments are then made from this fund to retirees. This is not, however, simple redistribution.
The problem with how demographers evaluate the aging population
The workforce that is currently contributing to the fund will then retrieve payments once they retire. Thus, Social Security has features of both a redistribution system and a savings account. In addition to Social Security, the other primary social support for the American elderly is Medicare.
Medicare is a social insurance program that provides health care for American citizens over the age of Created in , Medicare was intended to address the fact that seniors spend more on healthcare than any other segment of the population, despite having the least income.
Recent studies have confirmed that Medicare enrollees typically have lower incomes and more healthcare expenses than the average American. Because Medicare enrollees are, by definition, senior citizens, their healthcare costs also far higher than average. These disparities demonstrate the complicated problems most senior citizens encounter as they age.
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Social Security could soon be in crisis if current trends to not change.