About this Research Topic
The demographic situation in most HICs, and a growing number of MICs, is defined by the combination of three dominant trends: fertility rates at or below replacement levels, unprecedented and continuing declines in late-life mortality, and increasing levels of migration. This has resulted in societies which are increasingly characterised by a decline in the proportion of younger people (through falling fertility), an increase in the proportion and number of older people (through both falling fertility and mortality), and a more ethnically diverse composition (through increased migration).
The goal of this Research Topic is to explore how these large shifts in demographic structure will impact upon all aspects of society. Large shifts in national age distributions, for example, are likely to affect national saving patterns, capital requirements and international capital flows. The demand for health and social care workers in HICs is already increasing, and is set to increase further at the same time as the supply of younger workers will tighten. The implications for the host and source countries’ welfare systems, and for the family and social support structures in the source countries, are considerable.
We also need to consider the adjustments which will have to be made for a low-mortality and low-fertility future. For example, as individuals we may be required to reconsider the way in which we allocate consumption and resources between different stages of the life course; as societies, we have to decide how to allocate the burden of adjusting to demographic change across both different parts of the life course and between different generations.
We invite forward thinking articles, based on sound empirical data and evidence which will consider in particular the following themes:
• How governments and employers will enable individuals to maintain their health and productive capacity. As new cohorts will expect and demand increasingly flexible working patterns, we need to consider how the organisation of work may best be adapted to a new distribution between the generations to take into account the specific needs of different age groups.
• How education will adapt to longer active lives, and to the need for skills upgrading across these long lives.
• How the home will change and develop as it increasingly becomes a place of work, education, and health care. How technology will change to enhance our future lives and how our living and working environments will respond to the needs of a more mature population.
• How population aging will impact upon the intergenerational transfer of resources. Most countries in the world have developed public institutions for transferring resources and support between working generations to dependent younger and older generations.
• How the family and the family provision of care and support is likely to change.
• How individual life courses will change, both professionally and personally, in the light of personal longevity as individuals rethink their own personal life courses and when and how they wish to mix education and work.
• How future generations will adjust their savings and consumption behaviour across the life course and how governments and private sector providers will maintain the capacity to provide late life financial security.
• How LMICs societies will be able to provide the financial and social care infrastructures appropriate for these economies, welfare systems and cultures and in particular how their health care systems will aim to adapt to a reduction in acute diseases and infant and child related medicine, and to non-communicable disease and long term care.
Keywords: aging, family care, economic impacts, social implications
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