Aging: The Golden Years


Aging is a global phenomenon. After the post-war population boom, the lifestyle of people in many nations gradually changed leading to the decline in fertility rate and a slower population growth. The combined result is an ageing population. The trend is more dominate in the developed world today. As indicated in the table below, people aged 60+ accounts for 22% of the population in the developed regions versus only 9% in the less developed ones. However, the developing countries will soon be catching up. According to the projection, the 60+ group in the developed regions will only gradually increase by about 50% to 1/3 of the overall population by 2050. For the same period, the ageing population in the developing regions is expected to triple to about 20% of its overall population.

Table 1: Percentage of 60+ in the overall population1

2011 2050

Global 11% 22%

More developed regions 22% 32%

Less developed regions 9% 20%

With the advent of health care and increase in health consciousness, people are expected to live longer. Among the ageing, the 80+ group is expected to grow quickly.

Table 2: Percentage of 80+ in the overall population1

2011 2050

Global 2% 4%

More developed regions 4% 9%

Less developed regions 1% 4%


Age not only brings about changes to each of us individually, but changes to the economics and societies as a whole. Governments and international organizations long recognize this challenge. In fact, ageing was the theme of the World Health Day organized by the World Health Organization this year. The Report for the 2002 World Assembly 2 summarized the issues very well.

  • Population ageing is unprecedented

  • Population ageing is pervasive

  • Population ageing is enduring

  • Population ageing has profound implications


Today the advances in healthcare and the availability of resources allow our ageing population the chance to truly enjoy the golden age. Yes, age does come with many challenges, physically, mentally, and possibly financially of late. However, age also comes with wisdom that can only be accumulated through life-long experiences. Acknowledging that we have these challenges and yet opportunities, we would like to open a dialogue in our community. We will be posting articles on aging in the coming weeks. Please join in the conversation and share your experiences.


1. World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision, prepared by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of United Nations

2. Report for the 2002 World Assembly, prepared by the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations

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