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Aging Population: Towards a Bleak Future?

Japan’s population began to decline in 2011 (127 million inhabitants) and could drop to 100 million by 2050 according to the National Institute of Population and social security Research. This impressive fall is due by the aging population phenomenon during which the proportion of the elderly in the total population is increasing and/or by the decreasing of the fertility rate. Japan was the first country experiencing this trend but nowadays all developed countries is facing this issue.

The study from the University’s School of Economics shows that governments facing population ageing have a challenging task to provide social security and public services for the aged while maintaining economic growth. Indeed, with a low fertility rate, the part of the population on the market is decreasing as the one of elderly people is increasing. As time goes by, workers will consequently have to participate increasingly in the social security and benefits.

Some Hopes

To alleviate this bleak future on the market, we can hope productivity of each employee will increase thanks to the following factors: increasing to the school education, thus increase of skills, technology advancement helping workers to perform better. However globally speaking, it won’t be enough to relieve the anxiety.

Public institutions are thinking about reforms to answer to the aging population phenomenon: raising retirement age, pensions for those on low incomes, increase importance of private sector providing pensions and health care, increase income tax to pay for pension costs… Moreover, they are encouraging their people to have children by giving them money (Russia), making preschool studies free (Japan)…

Technologies can also participate in, thanks to the automation in workplaces to fill the lacking manpower in industries such as the automobile. Furthermore, robots can assist elder people. The Japanese government has been funding development of elder care robots to relieve a projected shortfall of 380,000 specialized workers by 2025. The aging population can be a preoccupying matter as it entails a vague future especially on markets however solutions exist. Our future is not synonymous of chaos.