Daily Review: The Demographic Crisis Is a Global Issue

Daily Review: The Demographic Crisis Is a Global Issue
Elderly people have their lunch at a government-funded nursing home in Beijing, March 19, 2010 (AP photo by Andy Wong).

Italian PM Giorgia Meloni is set to introduce a new welfare package for Italy’s low-income elderly today, part of an effort to address the country’s aging population, Reuters reports. Italy is the EU’s oldest country, with a median age of 48, and has the highest ratio of people aged over 65 to those of working age.

Our Take

The reported plan by Meloni is just the latest in a string of stories about population decline, falling birth rates and aging populations, particularly in the West and East Asia. But although this is a hot-button issue right now, it isn’t new—Philip Longman wrote for WPR about the phenomenon way back in 2012.

The issue isn’t as regionally specific as many think, either. Even back then, the list of countries where birthrates had fallen below replacement levels included Brazil, Chile, Tunisia and Iran. Today, the list is even longer, and includes even more countries in the Americas and the Asia-Pacific region, including India, Malaysia and Argentina, among others. At this point, the only exception to the overall demographic transition is sub-Saharan Africa, where even the most conservative estimates show high population growth in the coming decades.

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