Ageing in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Policies, and Future Trends

Ageing in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Policies, and Future Trends

Ageing in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Policies, and Future Trends

Ageing in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Policies, and Future Trends

Synopsis

Focusing on the challenges that an ageing Asia-Pacific population poses to economies and societies in the region, this study considers the policies that have evolved to date to meet new demands, and how these will operate in the future.

Excerpt

It has been said that ‘the developing world is growing old before it grows rich’, a statement that contrasts the ageing experience of much of the non-Western world today with that of the historical experience of most Western countries. After crossing the threshold into the twenty-first century, the labelling of countries as developed, developing, First or Third world, seems somewhat archaic, yet there is certainly a grain of truth in the saying above. The Asia-Pacific region is now clearly witnessing the rapid ageing of many of its nations. It is perhaps misleading to term the entire region as ‘developing’, because many of its countries are clearly well advanced in development. Nevertheless, there are important differences in social, economic and political achievement among many countries in the region, which mean that many are still relatively at the emergent phase of development. Yet their concurrent rapid ageing over the past two or three decades does render the saying above applicable to many. Of course, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan are amongst the wealthiest economies in the world; their current challenge is how to maintain their social and economic successes in the face of demographic ageing of their populations. For many other countries of the region, the challenge may be more fundamental, of how to build economic and social development whilst their populations are generally ageing—a challenge faced by relatively few if any countries in the Western world.

The Asia-Pacific region is by and large a very dynamic area of the world, not only economically, socially and politically but also in terms of its demography and population profiles. This book focuses on what has already been identified as a key issue for a large number of counties in the region, the ageing of populations and the associated challenges for economic, health and social policies, and the wider environments. By about 2025, Japan will probably be the most ‘elderly’ country in the world, demographically speaking, and a number of other countries in the region will be in the demographically aged category of countries: Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan and, by weight of numbers, China itself. This presents hitherto unmet challenges in many areas of life: social, economic, political and social infrastructure and environmental planning. At the other end of the scale, demographically speaking, some countries in the region will still

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