The Making of Ageing Policy
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The Making of Ageing Policy

Theory and Practice in Europe

Edited by Rune Ervik and Tord Skogedal Lindén

Demographic changes transform societies and challenge existing institutional solutions and policies. The need for policies addressing these challenges has increasingly been put on the agenda. The Making of Ageing Policy analyzes these innovative policy ideas and practices at both the international and the national level.
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Chapter 2: Active ageing: rhetoric, theory and practice

Alan Walker and Liam Foster


Although population changes in European countries have not been uniform, in general falling death rates across the European Union (EU) during the last century have led to increased longevity, while in more recent decades, from the 1970s onwards, the EU has also experienced falling fertility rates (EuroStat 2012). Both of these factors underpin demographic ageing. In the EU27 there were approximately 87 million people aged 65 and over on 1 January 2010 (17.4 per cent of the total population) compared with 59.3 million (12.8 per cent) on 1 January 1985 (EuroStat 2012). This ageing process is expected to develop further during the next half century, as the absolute number of the population of older people continues to grow. The EU population aged 65 years and over is projected to increase to 30 per cent in 2060, from 17 per cent in 2010. Those aged 80 and over are predicted to be the fastest growing age group, increasing from 5 per cent to 12 per cent over this period (EuroStat 2012). Thus, across the EU and likewise many other parts of the world, there has been a shift from a predominantly young society to one which consists of a significant and growing proportion of older people. While advanced population ageing in Europe is a cause for celebration it also presents numerous challenges.

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