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World Economic and Social Survey 2007   

World Economic and Social Survey 2007
Development in an Ageing World


This work is published for and on behalf of the United Nations.

Paper  Back Book (8˝ x 11") :   Pages : 210
2007  Edition         :   ISBN - 81-7188-649-3
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World Economic and Social Survey 2007: Development in an Ageing World

Greater longevity is an indicator of human progress in general. At the same time, increased life expectancy and lower fertility rates are changing the population structure worldwide in a major way: the proportion of older persons is rapidly increasing, a process known as population ageing. The process is inevitable and is already advanced in developed countries and progressing quite rapidly in developing ones.

The World Economic and Social Survey has also come of age as it celebrates the sixtieth anniversary of the publication, which first appeared in 1948 (then called the World Economic Survey).

Appropriately enough, the 2007 Survey analyses the implications of population ageing for social and economic development around the world, while recognizing that it offers both challenges and opportunities. Among the most pressing issues is that arising from the prospect of a smaller labour force having to support an increasingly larger older population. Paralleling increased longevity are the changes in intergenerational relationships that may affect the provision of care and income security for older persons, particularly in developing countries where family transfers play a major role. Thus, societies must also ensure that they meet the particular needs of older populations in terms of the requisite health care and appropriate living conditions. At the same time, it is also necessary for societies to fully recognize and better harness the productive and social contributions that older persons can make but are in many instances prevented from making.

The Survey argues that the challenges are not insurmountable, but that societies everywhere need to put in place the policies required to confront those challenges effectively and to ensure an adequate standard of living for each of their members, while respecting and promoting the contribution and participation of all.





Explanatory Notes




How old is old?

The Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing

Development in an ageing world 

Moving forward



An ageing world population

Changing population age distributions

Underlying causes of changing age distributions

Historical stages of changing age distribution

Regional differences in population ageing

Ageing within the older population itself

Is population ageing inevitable?

Historical reductions in fertility and mortality

Future trends according to alternative projection scenarios

Potential impact of fertility policies

Potential impact of migration

Trends in working and dependent age groups

Dependency ratios: definition and interpretation

Global trends in age-related dependency

Regional differences in age-related dependency

Ageing within the working-age population

Gender differences at older ages

Numbers of men and women

Gender gap in life expectancy at birth and at older ages




Older persons in a changing society


Changing living arrangements and housing needs

Living arrangements and housing needs

Implications for care and intergenerational support

Social, cultural and family contributions of older persons

Grand parenting: contribution to intergenerational cohesion in the family

Participation of older persons in society

Political participation

Empowering older members of society

Fighting neglect, abuse and violence directed against older persons

Risk factors for elder abuse and response mechanisms

Advancing the human rights of older persons

Improving images of older persons




Economic consequences of population ageing


Ageing, labour supply and productivity growth

Asymmetries in labour supply growth

Off setting the slower labour-force growth

Ageing labour force, declining productivity?

Ageing and consumption patterns

Life-cycle patterns of income and consumption

Do consumption patterns change with age?

Ageing and savings dynamics

Ageing and the structure and stability of financial markets

Institutional investors: transforming financial markets


Appendix: Grouping of countries and areas by fertility, immigration
and labour-force participation rates



Old-age income security


Old age and income poverty

Sources of economic support and livelihood for older persons

Formal pension systems: ensuring income security during old age

Sustaining and expanding pension systems

Reforming pension systems I: fine-tuning system design

Reforming pension systems II: introducing notional accounts

Reforming pension systems III: switching to fully funded systems

Solidarity, accessibility and affordability: moving towards universal coverage




Health and long-term care systems for ageing societies


Epidemiological transition and population ageing

Mortality decline and the epidemiological transition

Health and disability in the older population

Health differentials and their implications for future trends

Are health-care systems prepared for population ageing?

Health resources and expenditures

Ageing and the need for reform of health-care systems

The challenge for health policies

The provision of long-term care

Implications for future health costs

Projections of the impact of ageing on health expenditures

The epidemiological approach applied to Australia

Projections of the impact of ageing on future expenditures on long-term care



Statistical annex




IV. 1. The demographic transition: first and second dividends for the third age?
IV. 2. Pension funds: international capital flows and the home bias
V. 1. Pension systems: a multitude of arrangements
V. 2. A brief history of old-age income security
V. 3. Expanding social security in India
V. 4. Moving from pay-as-you-go to fully funded schemes: a long and costly transition
VI. 1. The “ageing in place” movement: the growing importance of home-based health care
VI. 2. Projecting health-care expenditures into the future


II. 1.

Population pyramids for the world and groups of countries, 1950, 2005 and 2050

II. 2.

Time period required for the proportion of the population aged 65 years or over to increase from 7 to 14 per cent and from 14 to 21 per cent, selected countries

II. 3.

Size and distribution of world population aged 60 years or over by groups of countries, 1950, 1975, 2005, 2025 and 2050

II. 4.

Trends in three types of dependency ratio for the world and groups of countries, 1950-2050

II. 5.

Distribution of the working-age population by age group for the world and groups of countries, 1950-2050

III. 1.

Changes in divorce rates, selected countries, 1960, 1980 and 2003

III. 2.

Living arrangements of older persons in developed and developing regions

III. 3.

Proportion of older persons living alone at two time points, by sex, averages for major areas

III. 4.

Living arrangements of older persons in Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean

IV. 1.

Labour-force growth, 1998-2000 and 2000-2020

IV. 2.

World male and female labour-force participation rates by age group, 2005

IV. 3.

Relationship between labour-force participation rates of older workers aged 65 years or over, 2005, and GDP per capita

IV. 4.

Increased participation of older workers in the labour force: impact on the average annual rate of growth of GDP per capita, 2000-2050, selected countries

IV. 5.

Impact of population ageing on required annual average rate of labour-productivity growth, 2000-2050, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States of America

IV. 6.

The economic life-cycle profile for the developing world

IV. 7.

Structure of consumption expenditure by age group, United States of America, 2006, and European Union, 1999

IV. 8.

Structure of household consumption, selected countries, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990 and 1995

IV. 9.

Global saving and investment per capita by major groups of countries and areas, 1985, 1990, 1995 and 2002

IV. 10.

Gross household savings as a share of gross national savings, Japan and the United States, 1960-2005

V. 1A.

National and old-age poverty headcount ratios, selected developed economies, circa 2000

V. 1B.

National and old-age poverty headcount ratios, selected developing economies, 1997-2005

V. 2.

Contributors to public pension schemes as a proportion of labour force, by income per capita

V. 3.

Simulated costs for developing countries of a universal social pension scheme designed to keep older persons out of extreme poverty, 2005 and 2050

VI. 1.

Distribution of deaths by major cause group, WHO regions, 2005

VI. 2.

Total and healthy life expectancy at birth and at age 60, by region and sex, 2002

VI. 3A.

Share of older persons in total population versus share of health expenditure in GDP, selected OECD countries, 2003

VI. 3B.

Average annual growth rate of older population versus average annual growth rate of per capita health expenditure, selected developed countries, 1970-2002

VI. 3C.

Change in share in total population of older population versus average annual growth rate of per capita health expenditure, selected developed countries, 1970-2002

VI. 4.

Trends in norms and expectations with respect to care for the elderly among married females under age 50, Japan, 1950-2004

VI. 5.

Range in impacts, under three dif erent scenarios, of key cost drivers on national health-care expenditure in Sri Lanka in 2025 and 2101

VI. 6.

Australia: decomposition of projected change in health expenditure for all projected disease patterns between the base year of 2002-2003 and 2012-2013, 2022-2023 and 2032-2033



II. 1.

Life expectancy at birth and total fertility rate for selected countries and groups of countries, 1950-1955, 2000-2005 and 2045-2050

II. 2.

Population by broad age group for the world and groups of countries, 1950, 1975, 2005, 2025 and 2050

II. 3.

Population aged 80 years or over for selected countries and groups of countries, 1950, 2005 and 2050

II. 4.

Age distribution estimated for 2005 and according to different projection variants for 2050, for the world and groups of countries

II. 5.

Age structure of the population projected for the developed

II. 6.

Net number of migrants required during 1995-2050 to achieve countries in 2050 according to the medium and zero migration variants different population scenarios, selected countries and regions

II. 7.

Sex ratio of the population in selected age groups for the world and groups of countries, 1950, 2005 and 2050

II. 8.

Life expectancy at birth and at ages 60, 65 and 80, by sex for the world and groups of countries, 1950-2050

III. 1.

Conditions of housing in Latin America by age group

III. 2.

Access to provision of basic housing services in Latin America by age group

IV. 1.

Changes in the labour force, 1980-2000 and 2000-2020, by region and sex

IV. 2.

Labour-force participation rates, 2005, by region, sex and age group

IV. 3.

Household saving rate and old-age dependency ratio in selected OECD countries, 1989, 1995, 2000, 2003 and 2007

IV. 4.

Assets under management by institutional investors, developed economies, 1990-2004

V. 1.

Proportion receiving pensions and poverty headcount ratio for persons aged 60 years or over, nationally and by urban/rural, selected Latin American countries, 2001-2005

V. 2.

Incidence of poverty among persons aged 65 years or over and among persons aged 65 years or over living alone, by sex, selected developed countries, 1996

V. 3.

Main sources of income during old age as a proportion of total income, selected countries, and Taiwan Province of China, selected years

VI. 1.

Number of physicians and hospital beds, by region, 1997-2004

VI. 2.

Total health expenditure, by region, 2000-2003

VI. 3.

Share of public spending in total health expenditures, by region, 2000-2003

VI. 4.

Distribution of total health-care expenditure, by age group, selected countries

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