This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Aging in Asia: Charting the Territory

The number of older people is increasing rapidly throughout the world as the declines in mortality, especially since the end of World War II, have kept people alive longer than ever before. This is genuinely uncharted territory and the issue is very large in the world's most populous region--Asia. A new book out by the National Academies Press, "Aging in Asia," explores this issue with new data for five of the Asian 'biggies'--China, India, Indonesia, Japan, and Thailand. The report was a project of the National Research Council's Committee on Population and is edited by James P. Smith of RAND and Malay Majmundar of the National Research Council. 

Survey data show that in China and India, the elderly have many undiagnosed diseases, which could complicate old age with potentially avoidable disabilities. Most older people outside of Japan are not well covered by pensions and so there is a strong and consistent flow of money from children to their aging parents. This will be increasingly burdensome on young Asians, who have few siblings with which to share the expense. Where pensions do exist, policy analysts promote the sensible idea that retirement ages must go up as life expectancy goes up. However, in Japan few males seem to be employed past age 60. These are just a few tidbits from a 17-chapter book.

The beauty of the books published by National Academies Press is that you can read them on-line or download them as a PDF or buy them the old fashioned way, and I encourage you to at least peruse the chapters in this volume.

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