Profiling the elderly: understanding recent trends in acceleration of African population ageing

Henry V. Doctor, Columbia University & PRRINN-MNCH Programme

Recently, the world’s population has experienced a remarkable transition from a stage of high birth and death rates to one characterized by low death rates. The core of this transition has been the growth in the number and proportion of older persons. Using African census data, we assess the recent paths of population ageing, report on future levels of indicators of ageing and the speed at which they change. Preliminary results show that despite the slow pace, generally all the measures indicate that ageing will continue in the next four decades. The proportion of the African population 60+ years increases from 5% in 1990 to 11% in 2050. The two rapidly increasing indicators (proportion aged 60+ years and median age) suggest the need for institutional adjustment to cope with the expected increases. We interpret the results and provide recommendations in light of the recent dynamics of Africa's socioeconomic development.

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Presented in Session 22: Trends in aging and adult health