Social Policy in an Ageing Society
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Social Policy in an Ageing Society

Age and Health in Singapore

David Reisman

Around half the world’s population live in countries where the fertility rate is far below the replacement rate and where life expectancy is increasing dramatically. Using Singapore as a case study, Social Policy in an Ageing Society explores what might happen in a dynamic and prosperous society when falling births, longer life expectancy and rising expectations put disproportionate pressure on scarce resources that have alternative uses.
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Chapter 2: Old and Ill

David Reisman


The present is good. The first section of this chapter shows that, in terms of outcomes and inputs, Singapore is on a par with other developed countries. The future is a problem. The second section quantifies the demographic iceberg. Singapore is growing old. The third and final section assesses what the upward drift in the population bulge can mean for the cost of health care. 2.1 INDICATORS AND INPUTS Health status in Singapore is what would be expected in a country with a good standard of living and a clean environment that has invested prudently both in prevention and cure. The infant mortality rate is 2.6 per 1000 live births: it had been eight in 1980 and 82 in 1950. In the USA it is seven, in Sweden and Japan three, in China 23, in India 62. Life expectancy at birth is 77.9 for men, 81.8 for women: the average is 15 years longer than at internal self-government in 1959. The corresponding figures are 75 and 80 in the USA, 78.5 and 85.5 in Japan, 66 and 70 in Indonesia, 61 and 63 in Laos. Figures 2.1 and 2.2 show where Singapore stands. Healthy life expectancy at birth is 68.8 for males, 71.3 for females: in the USA it is 67.2 and 71.3, in Japan 72.3 and 77.7, respectively. Adult mortality in the productive years from 15 to 60 is 85 per 1000 for males, 50 for females: in the USA it is 144 and 83, in Sweden 82 and...

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