Month: November 2016

South Africa is pushing for an ageing society!

written by Basil Fahrlaender, Embassy of Switzerland in Pretoria, South Africa


South Africa is not ageing yet

Demographics in South Africa do not really fit in the classical scheme of an ageing society, as observed in most industrialized countries. The expression “the Baby Boomer generation”, that has become a sort of a general concept describing the demographic transformation of western populations, is thus not much of an explanation for a understanding of the South African reality. South Africa has till today a very young society. Almost half of all South Africans are currently younger than twenty-five year old and only one out of twenty South Africans is 65 or older. The demographic pyramid remains therefore very flat and speaking about an ageing society can be a bit misleading.[1]



Japan is Number 1

written by the Science & Technology Office Tokyo

Japan is well known for many things in the world – Robots, Anime, Manga and Samurai. Lately, it has also been in the news for its rapidly aging and shrinking society.

fig1The number of elderly people aged 65 or older accounts for 26.7 percent of the 127.11 million total population, up 3.7 percentage points from five years ago, a summary report of the 2015 national census shows. While the number of elderly aged 65 or older increased steadily from 5.72% (1960) to the currently more than 25%, the number of children aged from 0 to 14 dropped from 30.2% (1960) to 12.9% (2015) (Source: Worldbank). With world’s highest life-expectancy — the average life expectancy in Japan was according to the WHO 86.8 years for women and 80.5 years for men in 2015 — and the very low fertility-rate (2015: 1.43 births/ woman; Switzerland in comparison: 1.52 births/ woman), Japan is world’s fastest aging society and therefore also a test-bed for the future of many advanced societies.


The Brazilian government’s answer to a quickly aging society

Written by Rainald Baier da Silva and Isabelle Gómez Truedsson, Embassy of Switzerland in Brazil

In Brazil, the eternal “país do futuro” (Portuguese: land of the future), the aging society is becoming an urgent issue: According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), there are currently 22 million people above the age of 60 living in Brazil. This corresponds to roughly 11% of the entire population of 206 million. By 2050, their share will have reached 25% of the population. The general trend is thus the same as in developed and other emerging countries: Brazilians tend to live longer and have fewer children. However, the numbers provided by the National Health Research 2013 show, that Brazil is aging at a much quicker rate than countries like Sweden or the United Kingdom (see graph below).


Brazil is predicted to age quicker than other countries. This graph shows how long it takes for each country to reach a proportion of 14% of elderly as part of the entire population. Source: Kinsella K, He W. An Aging World: 2008. Washington, DC: National Institute on Aging and U.S. Census Bureau, 2009.