The demographic trend toward higher proportions of middle-aged and older persons with lower proportions of children and young adults that occurs when birth rates decline without a corresponding decline of death rates in infancy and childhood, over a period of a generation or more. Early in the 21st century, populations almost everywhere in the world are aging, and in some, notably in Western and Eastern Europe, the process has advanced to the extent that the total population would also decline in the absence of immigration. The important effects of aging of the population are economic and social. The proportion of dependent elderly people rises, including old people living alone without close kin to care for them, which produces a need for larger numbers of long-term care facilities for infirm elderly.
Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.