It appears we are right in the middle of a global aging phenomenon, as the report of the Census Bureau funded by NIH has shown a great surge in world elder population. At the moment, 617 million people (that is 8.5% of people worldwide) are at least 65 years old. The recent report estimated that by 2050, this part of the population will reach 1.6 billion persons (17 percent).
Named “An Aging World: 2015”, the report was created by the Census Bureau of the United States, and commissioned by the NIA (National Institute of Aging) which is part of the National Institutes of Health. The work tackles health, demographic and socioeconomic trends that influence this growth of elder population.
According to M.D. Richard J. Hodes, director of the NIA, while it is clear that people live longer, they do not also live healthier. The growth of elder population does pose public health challenged and opportunities that need to be carefully tackled.
The purpose of “An Aging World: 2015” is to provide and analyze the best data so experts can understand both the implications and the course of the aging of the population. The report includes information on all aspects related to this phenomenon, including life expectancy, health, health care systems, gender balance, disability, mortality, pensions, retirement, poverty and labor force participation, gathered from all around the world.
As Ph.D. and acting director of the Division of Behavioral and Social Research of NIA John Haaga has stated, the population is aging all around the globe. However, different regions and continents experience different paces of the process. Haaga has also emphasized the fact that
“Many countries in Europe and Asia are further along in the process, or moving more rapidly, than we are in the United States. Since population aging affects so many aspects of public life…there is a lot of potential for learning from each other’s experience.”
NIH’s report has revealed that the older population of the United States will almost double by 2050, from 48 million people to 88 million. Life expectancy at birth if also expected to increase on a global level from 68.6 years to 76.2 years. Furthermore, the eldest of the eldest (people older than eighty) will also record a surge from 126.5 million in 2015 to 446.6 million in 2050.
As for health concerns, it appears noncommunicable diseases are the most dangerous. However, in poorer countries, elders face numerous health risks from all types of diseases. Other risks include alcohol and tobacco use, the lack of physical activity and the unhealthy diets.
The report was created by Daniel Goodkind, Ph.D. and Wan He, Ph.D., from the Census Bureau’s Population Division International Programs Center. They were also helped by Paul Kowal, Ph. D., from the Study on Global Aging and Adult Health of the World Health Organization.
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