Edited by Giuliano Bonoli and Toshimitsu Shinkawa
Chapter 1: Population Ageing and the Logics of Pension Reform in Western Europe, East Asia and North America
Giuliano Bonoli and Toshimitsu Shinkawa INTRODUCTION Population ageing is a global phenomenon. According to currently available demographic projections virtually all countries in the world will see their population age structure get older over the next fives decades or so.1 The process is occurring at different speeds in different world regions and starts from different levels, but is affecting every country. The potential impact of demographic change on the age structure and the size of populations is dramatic. According to UN projections, the median age of the population is expected to increase by eight years in Japan between 2000 and 2050, from 41 to 49 years. In Italy the median age is expected to reach 53 years in 2050, and the proportion of those aged over 65 will exceed 35 per cent. In addition to ageing, countries will also experience population decline. The EU as a whole is expected, between 2000 and 2050, to lose 10 per cent of its population. Italy, currently a country of 57 million, will in 2050 have a population of only 41 million. The population of Germany, currently 82 million, is projected to decline to 70 million by 2050. These figures are impressive and the developments they point to will certainly influence several areas of social, political and economic life. They will also influence public policy, particularly those fields that are related to the population age structure of a country such as old age pensions. Growing proportions of older people means that younger generations will have...
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