Population Matters

Old age dependency overstated

Old age dependency overstated

Population ageing: the timebomb that isn’t?

Jeroen Spijker, senior research fellow; John MacInnes, professor

Key messages

The extent, speed, and effect of population ageing have been exaggerated because the standard indicator—the old age dependency ratio—does not take account of falling mortality

When measured using remaining life expectancy, old age dependency turns out to have fallen substantially in the UK and elsewhere over recent decades and is likely to stabilise in the UK close to its current level

The capacity of healthcare systems to cope with increasing longevity will depend on the changing relationship between morbidity and remaining life expectancy and, in particular, the effect of education

BMJ article

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