Population Momentum and Population Aging in Asia and Near-East Countries

by Andrew Mason, Sang-Hyop Lee, and Gerard Russo

East-West Center Working Papers, Population Series, No. 107

Publisher: Honolulu: East-West Center
Publication Date: February 2001 (revised April 2001)
Binding: paper
Pages: 146


The Year 2000 is a demographic watershed in Asia. After a century of rapid growth, Asia faces two new challenges: slowing population growth and rapid population aging. As these changes take hold, policies towards health and the economic security of the elderly are taking on increased importance. The decisions made regarding these sectors will have far-reaching implications. With increasing difficulty, countries will have to weigh the interests of the young against the old, reconsider the responsibilities of the family vis-à-vis the state, and balance concerns for equity against those for economic growth.

This study documents demographic change in Asia and in seven study countries in Asia and the Near East: the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, India, South Korea, Bangladesh, and Egypt. It presents population projections recently released by the United Nations (UN 1998), examines the underlying assumptions, and considers the implications of uncertainty about demographic trends. It then addresses key issues related to aging and the health sector, old-age support systems, labor and retirement policy, and the macro-economy. The study identifies major policy challenges that countries in the region are facing and the strengths and weaknesses inherent in alternative approaches to policy reform.