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The global population trend is notably aging. A study of the population trend together with its possible impacts indicates a looming crisis that could have global negative effects on both economic and social factors. In this paper, research is done from secondary sources of information to give a detailed overview of the population trend with specification to some countries in both the west and east. The study reveals that policies should be formulated, either globally or at national levels to subvert the looming crisis due to the aging population.
The demographic structures of a society or a nation define all aspects of life, whether social, economic or political. Institutions and individual persons make decisions that that affects these aspects. The discussion in this writing seeks to discuss effects of population trend and the over-aging of many western countries.
With information from current resources like magazines and journals published in March 2011 and current books, the paper will discuss economic impacts of the population trend and the over-aging of the western countries on the global economic environment. The paper will also discuss the political and social impacts of demography.
Mathematicians examine a trend in terms of a pattern that is adopted by a particular subject. These patterns occasionally have significant implications on a variety of real life issues. Statistical measures like census or sample surveys reveal quantities and their implications on the environment. A case study of a population census revealed in March, 2011 by North Field News had interesting revelations.
The data indicated that population growth primarily happens in metropolitan and not in rural areas. In fact, the average growth rate is twenty percent in the cities while the individual county with the highest growth rate recorded only seven percent. This is due to significant migration to the cities (Lindberg 1). According to a catholic journal published on seventeenth March, 2011, the life expectancy in the United States of America has vastly increased with a significant decrease in the death rate.
In addition, life expectancy increased to about eighty years in the year 2009. It was further reported that the number of older people are generally on the increase in developing countries. A seven percent average increase is estimated for centenarians in the United States-centenarians are people who are at least one hundred years old (Catholic 1).
Recently, Germany reported a crisis due to ageing of the workforce and decreasing population over all. They estimated that the workforce will reduce by about five million in the next decade. Germany is just an example, though a closely similar trend is predicted in many of the western countries (Larry and Kollewe 1).
Similarly, it has been noted in the United States that the aging problem if developing. An increased life expectancy together with significantly increasing percentage of the elderly in the American population is notable. It can be statistically concluded that the population trend is changing in the United States and other western countries. A sample of the United States and European countries like the Germany, Britain and Spain can be used as an inference to the general population trends in the America and European countries.
The increased health and medical facilities in these developed countries can be used to explain this change in population trend that has realized increasing population of the elderly (Elliott and Kollewe 1). A further worry is raised by the fact that a majority of the work force in some of these countries are the elderly who will soon be faced out of the labor system due to their age. Another cause of this trend is the change in social views that led to reduced birth rates in these countries in the past years (Greenberg 1).
An almost similar trend in demography is exhibited in other continents. A case study of the demographic trend in Asian countries indicates a similarity to the trend observed in the western countries. The recent earthquake in Japan sent an indicator of the country’s population trend as reported statistics indicated that a majority of the victims of the calamity were the elderly.
Either list of the survivors or the missing people in the Japanese earthquake were significantly dominated by the elderly age group. In the 31st march, 2011 article titled “Asia braces for its date with demographic destiny”, Wheatley Alan pointed out that the most important step for Japan in its restructuring agenda should be “solving the issue ageing society with a low birth rate” (Wheatley 1).
According to Alan, Japan is the leading among the ageing nations with a record of thirty per cent of its population being more than sixty years of age as at the year 2010. With its trend, the percentage composition of the Japanese population by the elderly, of more than sixty years of age, is projected to hit thirty seven percent by the year twenty thirty. Close to the Japanese demographic trend is that of South Korea which is projected to have thirty two percent of the population as the elderly (Wheatley 1).
China is also reported to exhibit increasing trend in the ageing population. It is estimated that by the year 2015, Chinese elderly population shall have grown from its 12 percent in the year 2010 up to 16 percent (Tsuruoka 1). The changing population trend has been caused by a number of factors such as improved health standards that resulted in higher life expectancy among others. In china for example, the trend is majorly attributed to the one child policy that was established in the earlier years of 1980s.
The policy which was harshly enforced by the government ensured reduced birth rate. At the same time, life expectancy increased from previous forty two years and thirty nine years for women and men respectively in the middle of twentieth century to seventy one years and sixty eight years respectively at the close of the twentieth century (Columbia 1).
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Effects of the Population Trend in the Western Countries
The population trend and the aging factor evidenced in the above mentioned countries all aspects of life and social economic planning. As Bloch Brian reported, these demographic trends have implied effects in business sector of economies. One of the effects of this demographic change is on investment and pension schemes.
The social nature of the demographic structure is expected to play an important role in the economic effects of the demographic changes. “Baby boomers”, reaching retirement age are the key players and the major asset owners in the global economy and they will move their assets in their old age. The worst problem is the spending younger generation who are seen as not keen on savings.
The effect of the situation will be a flooded market for assets with no buyers leading to their loss of value. This claim of negative economic effect of demographic changes is however refuted by views that the relationship between the population trend and the economies is not significantly correlated. It is further argued that the demographic factors could have been factored in the current stock prices besides the global investments across borders into the western economies (Bloch 1).
The change in population trend also has a significant effect in the labor market. The facing out of the ageing generation who are also the main suppliers of labor force in some countries is expected to result in scarcity in human resource in these countries.
The German government through its labor minister confers that the issue of expected labor shortage is real and measures are being considered to import labor force in the future years. This leads to the social impacts of immigration that will witness social interactions of a variety of races and nationalities that will be imported into these western economies (Larry and Kollewe 1).
The trend and structure of the western population also have effects in the country’s politics. A survey conducted in Britain indicated that the age factor significantly affected political views. It was noted that a larger percentage of the older people are aligned to conservative views while the youth are significantly not interested in politics and a majority of them don’t vote.
The older generation which is increasing in population is also the most financially stable and their alignment to a political party would influence politics in terms of campaign funding during elections. The political effects of the demographic structure are actually significant globally (McLean and McMillan 6).
One of the effects of the Asian aging population is the high cost of sustaining the social welfare of the elderly. This is specifically so as the elderly needs expenditure on them while their contribution to the economy is either minimal or zero. Another significant effect of the aging population is the reduced labor force into the economy.
With a large percentage of the population aging, the active number in terms of human resource supply is on the decrease. This phenomenon has been identified as a threat that can “impede economic development by reducing the size of productive ages” (Hermalin 6).
The population trend in America and the European countries has been changing over time with the population of the elderly increasing while that of the younger people is on the decrease.
The trend is caused by reduced birth rates and increased health facilities that have increased the life expectancy in the countries. The demographic change however has effects in economic, social and political aspects which will be more significant in future if the population trend and the ageing of the western countries continue in the same direction. Similarly, the trend is realized in the Asian countries.
The population of the elderly is increasing while that of the youth is on the decline. There also therefore exists a consistently predictable crisis in the future economic and social status in Asia. Necessary measures and policies should therefore be taken to ensure that the threat that the demographic trend is posing is countered before it explodes into a global crisis.
Bloch, Brian. Demographic Trends and the Implications for Investment. Demographic Trends, 2011. Web.
Catholic. U.S. life expectancy rises, while death rate falls. Catholic, 2011. Web.
Columbia. Issues and trend in china’s demographic history. Columbia, 2009. Web.
Elliott, Larry & Kollewe, Julian. Germany faces up to problem of ageing workforce. Gurdian, 2011. Web.
Greenberg, Moe. Considerations for investigation of the elderly victim. Policeone, 2011. Web.
Hermalin, Albert. The well-being of the elderly in Asia: a four-country comparative study. New York,NY: University of Michigan Press, 2002. Print.
Lindberg, Joseph. Census 2010: Rice county cities boom at expense of townships. North Field, 2011. Web.
McLean, Iain and McMillan, Alistair. The concise Oxford dictionary of politics. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.
Tsuruoka, Doug. Aging population helps lift china biologic products. Investor, 2011. Web.
Wheatley, Alan. Asia braces for its date with demographic destiny. Gulf News, 2011. Web.