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Sunday, May 02, 2010

The West's Ageing Population - what can we do about it?

Every 'advanced' Western society around the world has a common problem: the number of babies being born are increasingly lessening, while the number of people dying outnumber them in these countries.
So what's the problem?
There are many economic issues that this fact causes - one being that because of the scarcity of young people, there will be many more old people who will retire, then need money from their governments. And where does the money come from? From young people who will be taxed harder because they will be supporting a huge number of old people.

Another is that there will be so few young people, making it necessary for immigration laws in these countries to be slacked, as more youthful workers will be needed to pay for the aged. This causes problems too: while population decreases in the countries these immigrants come to, the immigrants themselves are likely to quickly re-populate the country, helping to cause divisions due to religious differences, cultural rights and diminishing the heritage of the new country they live in.

Here are some greatly disturbing facts from Stats NZ:

"The changing age structure of New Zealand’s population is inextricably linked with

a projected decrease in births and a projected increase in deaths. Births exceeded

deaths by about 30,000 in 2005 (June year), but deaths are projected to outnumber

births from the early 2040s."

the stats keep coming:

"The 65+ age group is projected to make up over one-quarter of New Zealand’s

population from the late 2030s"

and this, also chilling:

"The 65+ age group is projected to make up over one-quarter of New Zealand’s

population from the late 2030s, compared with 12 percent in 2005." (find the info here)

BBC News enlightens us to the never-before-seen situation in Italy (the vanguard of birth control and abortion, it would seem..)

"By mid-century there may be one pensioner for every one productive worker in Italy, which begs a simple, devastating question: how on earth is Italy going to maintain its pensions system?"

"...When will Europeans wake up to the implications of consistently low birth rates? Well, in the words of one European professor of population studies, probably not until they are all in their wheelchairs and they suddenly realise there is no one left to push." (read the whole article here)

This part of the article shocked me:

"Demographers calculate that by 2050 the current population of 56 million could have dwindled to 40 million."

I can guess why all this is happening. Can you?
Do you think this trend can be reversed, and if so, how should it be done?

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Anonymous Fred Stevens said...

Does this not concern you?

Overpopulation will kill the worlds populations if we don't do something about it now..

3:33 pm  
Blogger Lydz said...

Hi there, thanks for the comment.

These questions are huge, and I'm definitely not saying I understand them or have the answers. I do know, however, that killing children is not solving any problem the world has, rather it is creating new difficulties - both of the impact on women and on the economies of nations.

When you say 'the world's populations' - I take it you're referring to the increase in poverty 'over population' creates in third world, rather than Western countries. Western countries do not have a problem with over population - the reverse is true.
If anything, these countries desperately need more young people.
The problem of 'over population' in third world countries is due to the fact of unequal wealth distribution, rather than too many people. If these poor people had the money to start, and keep their own farms for instance, there would be more than enough work to go around.
A smaller population in third world countries wouldn't solve the problem of poverty.

1:19 pm  

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