Population Aging

Lynda Anderson

in Public Health

ISBN: 9780199756797
Published online February 2011 | | DOI:
Population Aging


The age of a population, or group of people, can change over time and become younger or older. “Population aging” refers to the process whereby older people account for a proportionally larger share of the total population. It is sometimes referred to as “demographic aging” or “global aging.” Increases in life expectancy are clearly a successful result of improvements in public health and medicine. This resultant aging of the population has profound effects on social, economic, health, and political systems that must adapt to the changing age structure. The increase in the numbers of older adults, often accompanied by a slowed growth in the number of children, will have dramatic consequences for public health, economic growth, housing, workforce, and social and health-care services. At the same time, it may inspire new policies and programs designed to promote health, independence, and well-being across the life cycle and to seize on other positive aspects of aging. Population aging is a global phenomenon. Analysis of the aging trends in the United States, for example, reveals changes in the proportion of the population over the age of sixty-five and the important growth within the older population. The proportion of adults aged sixty-five years or older stood at 4.1 percent in 1900, rose to 13.7 percent in 2012, and is projected to increase to 21 percent by the year 2040. The fastest-growing segment of the total population is people aged eighty years and over, with a growth rate twice that for those sixty-five years and older, and almost four times that for the total population. As of 2010, this group represents 10 percent of the older population and will more than triple by 2050.

Article.  7707 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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