Aging population could have its benefits
Suzana Popovic-Montag has previously blogged about the impact of Canada’s aging population on the healthcare system, the prison system, and various industries, such as farming. The aging workforce has the potential to leave jobs unfilled, while many believe that our health care system, in its current state, does not have the capacity to deal with the anticipated demands of increasing numbers of seniors.
The reality is that, by the year 2050, approximately one third of all Canadians will be aged 60 and above. Reports indicate that the percentage of Canadians over age 60 will increase from 21.7% to over 30% by 2050, the result being that our country will be significantly “older” than it currently is. Taking into consideration the strain that the shift in the average age of Canadians will have on public services and the labour workforce, it may be hard for some to see the benefits associated with living in a country with an aging population.
A recent article by the Globe and Mail, however, highlights the opportunity that an aging population could bring to Canadians. The article describes an international study by a team of researchers, who observed the economic, social, and environmental consequences of population dynamics in Germany, as a potential indicator of the impact of an aging population. After Japan, Germany is the country reported to have the second “oldest” population in the world, with an average age of 44.3 years, which could give Canadians a glimpse of what is to come as our population ages.
In short, the results of the study suggest that Canadians may be able to look forward to the following benefits that have been associated with an aging population in Germany:
- Reduced energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions as a result of a smaller population size;
- Those individuals who can expect to receive an inheritance may do so later in life, at times when money that is received is more likely to be used to fund retirement or provide assistance to adult children rather than quickly spent;
- Individuals are not only anticipated to live longer, but to spend a greater proportion of their lives in good health; and
- Increases in overall quality of life, as a result of less time spent working and/or performing housework.
Only time will tell which of the above anticipated benefits and consequences will be realized as Canada’s population continues to age.
Thank you for reading.