Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Aging, Fertility and Migration as Environmental Drivers

For Fast-Growing Countries, Should Aging Be a Concern? Planning for the Second Demographic Dividend(Elizabeth Leahy Madsen, New Security Beat, Environmental Change and Security Program, Wilson Center, Sep. 10, 2013)

Also discussed here: World population projected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050 with most growth in developing regions, especially Africa – says UN(UN Press Release, Jun13, 2013)

And here: Population Aging and Economic Growth in Asia(30 page pdf, David E. Bloom, David Canning, and Jocelyn E. Finlay, the National Bureau of Economic Research, University of Chicago Press, Aug. 2010)

Today we review recent population analyses which focus on the combined effect of the aging society with lower fertility and increased migration (in some countries) and the trends expected through this century. The reason this topic was examined is the increase in vulnerability to exposure to air pollution and the health impacts, seen in many studies of the elderly. While pointing out that consumption (and therefore pollution) increases from childhood through to senior years, from an economic point of view, aging by itself is not a negative aspect provided those in their working years plan for their retirement income - which given the recent tendency of the state to retreat from this responsibility would or should encourage more self reliance. That in turn could translate into a greater ability to maintain quality of life and of the environment.

We’ll see!


Key Quotes:

“while aging does present genuine policy challenges, it is not universally negative. If the right conditions are in place, countries can even experience an economic their age structures mature.”

 “Unlike children, older adults are not inherently dependent on others to support them. Elderly people have decades of accumulated knowledge and experience and, as life expectancies rise along with progress through the demographic transition, their longer and healthier lives are often more productive.”

 “Just as governments have decades of advance notice that their populations are aging, most individuals hope and expect to live to old age and plan accordingly. Their accumulated savings act as investments that drive economic growth.. elderly adults are more likely to provide financial support to their children and grandchildren than vice versa.”

“In 2010, a total of 19 countries experienced a decline of at least 1,000 people in their population compared to 2009… All of them, except Cuba and Puerto Rico, are located in Eastern and Southern Europe…In five countries, including the two in the Caribbean, there are still more births than deaths, but high outward migration rates create population decline”

“By 2030, the number of countries experiencing population decline is projected to increase from 19 to 34… The potential declines in Japan and Russia are most dramatic; both have current fertility rates below 1.5 children per woman.”

“From 1960 to 2005, China experienced the largest absolute increase in life expectancy in the world.. Japan boasts the highest life expectancy in the world at 85.6 for women and 78.7 for men, and it continues to rise... as the total fertility rate falls below the replacement rate in many Asian countries, the working- age share will decrease in the long run”

“The major reason population aging matters is that human productivity and human consumption have different time profi les. Children consume more than they produce… lasts into the late twenties in many countries as they continue in advanced education. Between twenty- five and roughly sixty- five are the prime working years, in which production exceeds consumption. After age sixty-five, consumption exceeds labor income.”
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