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.
The 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.
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.
Written by Sébastien Monnet, STC, Embassy of Switzerland in Singapore
While many Southeast Asian nations fear tsunamis, Singapore is bracing for the silver tsunami projected to hit its shores by 2030. Nearly every developed country in the world is confronted with an ageing population, yet the extent of the phenomenon in Singapore is acute. The government listed a rapidly ageing population as one of its key challenges looking ahead and research and technology are perceived as key enablers of its holistic action plan to allow the elderly to “age-in-place successfully”. Telehealth solutions are gaining traction and are moving into mainstream healthcare. Highly specialized business accelerators and startups are seeing this challenge as an opportunity and developing solutions to cater to the elderly.
Written by Dr. Swetha Suresh, Manager Entrepreneurship and Innovation, swissnex India
While I wait at a notoriously busy intersection in Bangalore on my way to work, I can’t help but notice the melee of kids going to school and office goers. Statistically every third person in any Indian city today is a “youth”. India’s youthfulness is all set to be a key driver for economic growth. In the next 20 years, India will have one of the youngest demographics in the world and also be home to over 300 million elderly people; the entire population of USA.
Written by Andrey Melnikov, STC, Embassy of Switzerland in Moscow
Russia, just as many other countries, encounters the problem of aging population. The increase of the senior age group is often seen by economists, sociologists and government officials as a shrinking labor force and a burden on the budget, especially in the conditions of the on-going economic crisis, since the official retirement age is relatively low – 55 years for women and 60 for men with an option to continue their professional life. However, the aging problem is not only a fiscal issue, but a combination of social, economic, political, cultural, religious and many other matters.