AGEING OF POPULATION
     
The Wait. Indelibly memorable, The Wait features a small skeleton of an old woman sitting upright in a huge square armchair, a glass bowl for her head displaying a small picture of her when she was young. A round open sewing basket rests at her feet on a circular, woven rag rug. Beside her is a round table exhibiting family photos. A large, oval framed portrait of her husband hangs above her head. The poetic repitition of ovals gather emotional impact in the necklace of mason jars circling her neck like a ruffled collar.

Edward Kienholz (October 23, 1927 – June 10, 1994) was an American installation artist whose work was highly critical of aspects of modern life. He often collaborated with his wife, Nancy Reddin Kienholz, from 1972 until his death. Collectively, they are referred to as "Kienholz".

 

Early life and artistic development

Edward Kienholz was born in Fairfield, Washington in 1927. He grew up on a farm in the eastern part of the state, learning carpentry and drafting and mechanical skills in his youth. He studied at Eastern Washington College of Education and, briefly, at Whitworth College in Spokane, but did not receive any formal artistic training.
After a series of odd jobs, such as a nurse in a psychiatric hospital, the manager of a dance band, a used car salesman, a caterer, a decorator and a vacuum cleaner salesman, Kienholz settled in Los Angeles, where he became involved with the arts
.

Together with other avant-garde artists in the area, such as the youthful Michael Bowen, he opened art galleries. In 1956 he founded the NOW Gallery. In 1957 Kienholz started the Ferus Gallery with Walter Hopps. In 1961 he completed his first installation, "Roxys", which caused a stir at the documenta 4 exhibition in 1968.

Despite his lack of formal artistic training, Kienholz began to employ his mechanical and carpentry skills in making collage paintings and reliefs assembled from materials salvaged from the alleys and sidewalks of the city. In 1960 he withdrew from the Ferus Gallery to concentrate on his art, creating free-standing, large-scale environmental tableaux. Kienholz's assemblages of found objects—the detritus of modern existence, often including figures cast from life—are at times vulgar, brutal, and gruesome, confronting the viewer with questions about human existence and the inhumanity of twentieth-century society.
Because of their satirical and antiestablishment tones, his works have often been linked to the funk art movement based in San Francisco in the 1960s. A 1966 show at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art drew considerable controversy about his assemblage, Back Seat Dodge ‘38 (1964), said by some in the press to be pornographic or at least vulgar
.

 

Collaboration with Nancy Reddin

In the early 1970s, Kienholz received a grant that permitted him to work in Berlin with his wife and collaborator, Nancy Reddin, whom he met in 1972 in Los Angeles. Their work has been widely acclaimed, particularly in Europe.
His most important works during this period were the Volksempfängers (radio receiving apparatus from the National Socialist period in Germany).
In 1973 he was guest artist of the German Academic Exchange Service in Berlin, and in 1976 he received a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 1977 he opened "The Faith and Charity" in Hope Gallery with Nancy Reddin. From the time of the exhibition Die Kienholz-Frauen at the Galerie Maeght in Zurich, 1981, his work was co-authorized with his wife.
In 1973, Kienholz and Reddin moved from Los Angeles to Hope, Idaho and for the next twenty years they divided their time between Berlin and Idaho
.

Kienholz died in Idaho in 1994. He was buried upright in the passenger side of a brown 1940 Packard coupe with a bottle of wine, a deck of cards, and the ashes of his dog Smash in the trunk.

 

Population ageing or population aging occurs when the median age of a country or region rises. With the exception of 18 countries termed by the United Nations 'demographic outliers' (see the UNDP 2005 Human Development Report) this process is taking place in every country and region across the globe.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE AVERAGE LIFESPAN HITS 100?

“Death is a very dull, dreary affair, and my advice to you is to have nothing whatever to do with it," said W. Somerset Maugham. Which is, of course, the way most of us would prefer it.

For all our willingness to play with fire, the human species has quite a flair for not getting burned. The same combination of irrationality and ingenuity that we bring to finding new ways to fight each other also informs our quest for eternal life. We don’t just want to survive. We want to be immortal. We want to defy illness, build utopia, and track down the fountain of youth. We may soon get our wish, says Sonia Arrison, a writer and futurist, thanks to the "coming longevity revolution.”

“We’re on the cusp of a rapid change in social consciousness," she writes in her new book, 100+: How The Coming Age of Longevity Will Change Everything, From Careers and Relationships to Family And Faith. "Humanity is finally in a position to shed its acceptance of disease and death and instead launch a true offensive against it." 

In a recent interview with Big Think, Arrison noted that life expectancy has always been plastic for human beings. The lifespan of a Cro-Magnon, for instance, was only about eighteen years. That number doubled around the time of the European Renaissance. And by 1850 -- the year the Industrial Revolution went mainstream -- the average Westerner could expect to live until 43.

Given the historical context, the current estimate of 78.7 starts to sound rather arbitrary. "It’s not set in stone," says Arrison. The key to reaching 150+, she believes, lies in the work of several scientists making vital but under-reported discoveries. Cynthia Kenyon, a molecular biologist, has been able to extend the life expectancy of worms by six times by making adjustments to their genetic composition. (Humans have the same pathways.) 

In 2010, Dr. Anthony Atala implanted a new bladder that he had grown in his laboratory in a ten-year-old suffering from spina bifida. He has also successfully grown hearts, livers, breast tissue, and bone in his lab. In August of last year, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania destroyed all traces of cancer in two patients who had leukemia by genetically altering the patients' immune cells so that they were able to recognize tumors as invaders rather than parts of the body.

What's the Significance?

None of these stories was greeted with much fanfare, but all are examples of the kind of regenerative medicine that will ultimately eradicate cancer, AIDs, and age-related diseases, says Arrison. After that, there's no reason why we can't defeat death itself.

Still, the question remains -- what happens when the average lifespan increases to 100 and beyond? What will a world full of super-centenarians look like? Will we be any happier?

We'll certainly have to find new stories to tell ourselves

One of the things that really struck me [when researching the book] is that when you look back through all of human culture and literature, you have an enormous amount of stories that explain to us why we have to die. Why it would be terrible if we were able to enhance ourselves and live longer. If you live longer, oh well you’ll become a vampire, and you’ll be sucking people’s blood or you know, Frankenstein’s monster. He was piecing together body parts, but it turned out to be a monster and so that was just unnatural and evil and bad.

And we’ve got this huge literature of dystopian stories relating to health and life extension, because it’s never been possible before. We’ve never had the opportunity to really radically extend human health before. And because we haven’t had that opportunity, we needed some way to convince ourselves that it was okay for us to die. It’s okay that we can’t move forward in the way that we want to or the way that we really dream about.

Now we’re at a point where we really do have the opportunity to move forward and be healthier much, much longer. And that’s exciting. And it’ll be interesting to see how that changes our culture and our stories.

Population ageing is constituted by a shift in the distribution of a country's population towards greater ages. Thus an increase in the population's mean or median age, a decline in the fraction of the population composed of children, or a rise in the fraction of the population that is elderly are all aspects of population aging.

Population ageing is a highly generalized process. It is most advanced in the most highly developed countries. Among the countries currently classified by the United Natios as more developed (with a population of 1.2 billion in 2005), the median age of the population rose from 29.0 in 1950 to 37.3 in 2000, and is forecast to rise to 45.5 by 2050.
The corresponding figures for the world as a whole are 23.9 for 1950, 26.8 for 2000, and 37.8 for 2050. In Japan, one of the fastest aging countries in the world, in 1950 there were 9.3 people under 20 for every person over 65. By 2025 this ratio is forecast to be 0.59 people under 20 for every person older than 65
.

The sources of population ageing lie in two (possibly related) demographic phenomena: rising life expectancy and declining fertility. An increase in longevity raises the average age of the population by raising the number of years that each person is old relative to number of years in which he is young.
A decline in fertility increases the average age of the population by changing the balance of people born recently (the young) to people born further in the past (the old).

Of these two forces, it is declining fertility that is the dominant contributor to population ageing in the world today. More specifically, it is the large decline in the total fertility rate over the last half century that is primarily responsible for the population ageing that is taking place in the world’s most developed countries. Because many developing countries are going through faster fertility transitions, they will experience even faster population aging than the currently developed countries in the future.

Canada has the highest per capita immigration rate in the world, based largely on the rationale of countering population aging. The C. D. Howe Institute, a conservative think tank, has suggested that immigration can not be used a viable means of countering population ageing. This conclusion is also seen in the work of other scholars. Demographers Peter McDonald and Rebecca Kippen comment, "[a]s fertility sinks further below replacement level, increasingly higher levels of annual net migration will be required to maintain a target of even zero population growth.


Ageing around the world

Asia and Europe are the two regions where a significant number of countries face severe population aging in the near future. In these regions within twenty years many countries will face a situation where the largest population cohort will be those over 65 and average age will be approaching 50.
Most of the developed world (with the notable exception of the United States) now has sub-replacement fertility levels, and population growth now depends largely on immigration together with population momentum which arises from previous large generations now enjoying longer life expectancy.

Ageing, well-being and social policy

The economic effects of an ageing population are considerable. Older people often have higher accumulated savings per head than younger people, but may be spending less on consumer goods. Depending on the age ranges at which the changes occur, an ageing population may thus result in lower interest rates and the economic benefits of lower inflation. Some economists (Japan) see advantages in such changes, notably the opportunity to progress automation and technological development without causing unemployment. They emphasize a shift from GDP to personal well-being. In countries that are overpopulated, population aging resulting from lower birth rates is a first step towards reversing the trend.

However population aging also increases some categories of expenditure, including some met from public finances. The largest area of expenditure in many countries is now health care, whose cost is likely to increase dramatically as the population ages. This would present governments with hard choices between higher taxes, including a possible reweighing of tax from earnings to consumption, and a reduced government role in providing health care.

Reclaim your brain

SHARE, survey of health, ageing and retirement in Europe


Saving for Retirement and Investing for Growth
(CEPS Task Force Report 18 Septemer 2013)

How to make European pensions
adequate andsustainable?
(CEPS Special Report, March 2009)
The second largest expenditure of most governments is education and these expenses will tend to fall with an aging population, especially as fewer young people would probably continue into tertiary education as they would be in demand as part of the work force.
Social security systems have also begun to experience problems. Earlier defined benefit pension systems are experiencing sustainability problems due to the increased longevity. The extension of the pension period was not paired with an extension of the active labor period or a rise in pension contributions, resulting in a decline of replacement ratios. In recent years, many countries adopted policies to strengthen the financial sustainability of pension systems, although the challenges regarding pension adequacy remain.

Ageing of population (also known as demographic aging, and population aging) is a summary term for shifts in the age distribution (i.e., age structure) of a population toward older ages.  A direct consequence of the ongoing global fertility transition (decline) and of mortality decline at older ages, population aging is expected to be among the most prominent global demographic trends of the 21st century. Population aging is progressing rapidly in many industrialized countries, but those developing countries whose fertility declines began relatively early also are experiencing rapid increases in their proportion of elderly people. This pattern is expected to continue over the next few decades, eventually affecting the entire world.  Population aging has many important socio-economic and health consequences, including the increase in the old-age dependency ratio.  It presents challenges for public health (concerns over possible bankruptcy of Medicare and related programs) as well as for economic development (shrinking and aging of labor force, possible bankruptcy of social security systems).

Defining and measuring population aging

As the study of population aging is often driven by a concern over its burdening of retirement systems, the aging of population is often measured by increases in the percentage of elderly people of retirement ages. The definition of retirement ages may vary but a typical cutoff is 65 years, and nowadays a society is considered relatively old when the fraction of the population aged 65 and over exceeds 8-10%. By this standard, the percentage of elderly people in the United States stood at 12.6% in 2000, compared with only 4.1% in 1900 and a projected increase to 20% by the year 2030.

A related measure of population aging is the elderly dependency ratio (EDR): the number of individuals of retirement ages compared to the number of those of working ages. For convenience, working ages may be assumed to start at age 15, although increasing proportions of individuals pursue their education beyond that age and remain, meanwhile, financially dependent, either on the state or, increasingly, on their parents or bank managers. The ratio of the elderly dependent population to the economically active (working) population is also known as old-age dependency ratio, age-dependency ratio or elderly dependency burden and is used to assess intergenerational transfers, taxation policies, and saving behavior.Another indicator of the age structure is the aging index (sometimes referred to as the elder-child ratio), defined as the number of people aged 65 and over per 100 youths under age 15. In 2000, only a few countries (Germany, Greece, Italy, Bulgaria, and Japan) had more elderly than youth (aging index above 100).
By 2030, however, the aging index is projected to exceed 100 in all developed countries, and the index of several European countries and Japan are even expected to exceed 200.

To date, aging indexes are much lower in developing countries than in the developed world, but the proportional rise in the aging index in developing countries is expected to be greater than in developed countries. These indicators of population aging are mere head-count ratios (HCR), that is, they simply relate the number of individuals in large age categories. These indicators fail to take into account the age distribution within these large categories, in particular among the elderly. When the fertility and mortality trends responsible for population aging have been fairly regular over time, the population growth is positively correlated with age (i.e., the oldest age groups are growing fastest). This implies that if the proportion of the population over age 65 is increasing, within that 65-and-over population the proportion over, say, age 80 is also increasing. As health, financial situation, and consumption patterns may vary greatly between 65 year-olds and 80 year-olds, simple ratios conceal important heterogeneity in the elderly population. Increasingly, attention is paid to the "oldest olds" (typically age 80 and over).

A long-time subject of curiosity, the number of centenarians is growing even faster. Estimated at 180,000 worldwide in 2000, it could reach 1 million by 2030 (United Nations 2001). The second class of indicators for population aging is the group of statistical measures of location (median, mean and modal ages of population). The median age -- the age at which exactly half the population is older and another half is younger -- is perhaps the most widely used indicator.

For the year 2000, the median age in the United States was 36 years, a typical age for most developed countries and twice the median age for Africa (United Nations 2001). Because it is more sensitive to changes at the right-hand tail of the age distribution (i.e., the oldest old ages), the mean age of population might in fact be preferred to the median age to study the dynamics of population aging. Since population aging refers to changes in the entire age distribution, any single indicator might appear insufficient to measure it. The age distribution of population is often very irregular, reflecting the scars of the past events (wars, depression etc.) and it cannot be described just by one number without significant loss of information.

Were the age distribution to change in a very irregular fashion over the age range, for instance, much information would be lost by a single-index summary. Therefore, perhaps the most adequate approach to study population aging is to explore the age distribution through a set of percentiles, or graphically by analyzing the population pyramids.
Demographers commonly use population pyramids to describe both age and sex distributions of populations. Youthful populations are represented by pyramids with a broad base of young children and a narrow apex of older people, while older populations are characterized by more uniform numbers of people in the age categories. Figures 1-5 About Here Demographic determinants of population agingTo understand the demographic factors that cause population aging, demographers often refer to stable populations (Preston et al. 2001). This population model assumes that age-specific fertility and mortality rates remain constant over time, and this results in a population with an age distribution that stabilizes and eventually becomes time invariant as well.

Conversely, this theoretical model suggests that any change in age structure, and population aging in particular, can only be caused by changes in fertility and mortality rates. The influence of changes in fertility rates on population aging is perhaps less intuitive than that of mortality rates. Everything else constant, however, a fertility decline reduces the size of the most recent birth cohorts relative to the previous birth cohorts, hence reducing the size of the youngest age groups relative to that of the older ones. The effects of changes in mortality rates on population aging appear more intuitive, but are in fact more ambiguous.

If increases in the human life span are correctly linked to population aging, reductions in mortality rates do not necessarily contribute to population aging. More specifically, mortality declines among infants, children and persons younger than the population mean age tend to lower the population mean age.  A moment of thought suggests that indeed a reduction of neonatal mortality (i.e., death in the first month of life) adds individual at age 0 and should lead to the same partial alleviation of population aging as an increase in childbearing.Population aging is thus related to the demographic transition, that is the processes that lead a society from a demographic regime characterized by high rates of fertility and mortality to another one with lower fertility and mortality rates. In the course of this transition, the age structure is subjected to different influences. In the typical sequence, the transition begins with successes in preventing infectious and parasitic diseases that benefit infants and young children most. The resulting improvement in life expectancy at birth occurs while fertility tends to remain unchanged, thereby producing large birth cohorts and an expanding proportion of children relative to adults. Other things being equal, this initial decline in mortality generates a younger population age structure.

After initial and sometimes very rapid gains in infant and child mortality have been achieved, further mortality declines increasingly benefit older ages and are eventually accompanied by fertility declines. Both changes contribute to reverse the early effect of mortality decline on the age structure, and this synergy is known as the double aging process. This corresponds to the experience of most developed countries today, but further decomposition suggest that their history of declining mortality is the dominant factor in current aging (Preston, Himes and Eggers 1989). Mortality declines continue in these countries and the decrease in mortality rates among the oldest-old (85+ years) has actually accelerated since the 1950s (Gavrilov, Gavrilova, 1991). This latest phase of mortality decline, which is concentrated in the older age groups, is becoming an important determinant of population aging, particularly among women.The rate of population aging may also be modulated by migration. Immigration usually slows down population aging (in Canada and Europe, for example), because immigrants tend to be younger and have more children.  On the other hand, emigration of working-age adults accelerates population aging, as it is observed now in some Caribbean nations.


Observed and Forecasted Percentages of the Elderly (65+ years) in Selected A reas, Regions, and Countries of the World: 1950, 2000 and 2050.

Population aging in these countries is also accelerated by immigration of elderly retirees from other countries, and return migration of former emigrants who are above the average population age.  Some demographers expect that migration will have a more prominent role in population aging in the future, particularly in low-fertility countries with stable or declining population size. The effects of migration on population aging are usually stronger in smaller populations, because of higher relative weight (proportion) of migrants in such populations. Dynamics of population aging The current level and pace of population aging vary widely by geographic region, and usually within regions as well, but virtually all nations are now experiencing growth in their numbers of elderly residents (for selected regions and countries.
The percentage of world population aged 65 and over only increased from 5.2% in 1950 to 6.9% in 2000. In Europe, however, the proportion is 14.7% in 2000. For a long time, the highest proportions where found in Northern Europe (e.g., 10.3% in Sweden in 1950), but had moved South by 2000 (18.1% in Italy). The proportions of elderly are lower outside of Europe with the notable exception of Japan where it increased from 4.9% in 1950 to 17.2% in 2000. 
The age structure of the United States continues to be marked by the large birth cohorts of the baby boom (people born from 1946 through 1964), not yet aged 65.  The proportion of the elderly population in the U.S., 12.3% in 2000, hence remains low compared to the developed-country standards
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world 5,2% 6,9 19,3
Africa 3,2% 3,3 6,9
Latin America
and
the Carribean
3,7% 5,4 16,9
China 4,5% 6,9 22,7
India 3,3% 5,0 14,8
Japan 4,9% 17,2 36,4
Europe 8,2% 14,7 29,2
Italy 8,3% 18,1 35,9
Germany 9,7% 16,4 31,0
Sweden 10,3% 17,4 30,4
USA 8,3% 12,3 21,1
Table 1 About Here Population aging has the following notable features: (1) The most rapid growth occurs in the oldest age groups – the oldest-old (80+ or 85+ years) and centenarians (100+ years) in particular.  In other words, population aging is becoming “deeper” with preferential accumulation of particularly old and frail people. (2) Population aging is particularly rapid among women, resulting in “feminization” of population aging (because of lower mortality rates among women).  For example, in the United States, there were 20.6 million older women and 14.4 million older men in 2000, or a sex ratio of 143 women for every 100 men.  The female to male ratio increases with age reaching 245 for persons 85 and over.  (3) Another consequence of lower female mortality is the fact that almost half of older women (45%) in 2000 were widows, thus living without spousal support.  (4) Population aging also causes changes in living arrangements resulting in increasing number of older people living alone (about 30% of all non-institutionalized older persons in 2000 lived alone in the United States).  (5) Since older persons have usually lower income and a higher proportion of them are living below the poverty line, population aging is associated with poverty, particularly in developing countries.  Projections of population aging in the 21st centuryFuture population aging will depend on future demographic trends, but most demographers agree that the fertility and mortality changes that would be required to reverse population aging in the coming decades are very unlikely. According to current population forecasts, population aging in the first half of this century should exceed that of the second half of the 20th century. For the world as a whole, the elderly will grow from 6.9% of the population in 2000 to a projected 19.3% in 2050 (Table 1). In other words, the world average should then be higher than the current world record. All regions are expected to see an increase, although it should be milder in some regions, such as Africa where the projected increase is from 3.3% in 2000 to 6.9% in 2050. But in Latin America and the Caribbean, the increase should be from 5.4% in 2000 to 16.9% in 2050, higher than the current European average. The increase should be even more spectacular in China: from 6.9% in 2000 to 22.7% in 2050.If population aging is thus far from limited to the most developed regions, the countries of these regions will likely continue to experience the highest proportions ever known. The forecasts suggest 29.2% of elderly in the European population as a whole, but more than 30% in a number of specific European countries, and perhaps as much as 36.4% in Japan. Again, the forecasted increase from 12.3% in 2000 to 21.1% in 2050 appears less dramatic in the U.S. than in other most developed countries. There is of course some uncertainty with any forecast, but it is important to note that previous population forecasts underestimated rather than overstated the current pace of population aging.  Before the 1980s the process of population aging was considered as an exclusive consequence of fertility decline and it was predicted that the pace of population aging would decrease after stabilization of fertility rates at some low levels.  Rapid decline in old-age mortality observed in developed countries in the last decades of the 20th century significantly accelerated population aging.  Now the old-age mortality trends are becoming the key demographic component in projecting the size and composition of the world's future elderly population.  Current and future uncertainties about changing mortality may produce widely divergent projections of the size of tomorrow's elderly population.  For example, the U.S. Census Bureau's middle-mortality series projection suggests that there will be 14.3 million people aged 85 and over in the year 2040, while the low-mortality (i.e., high life expectancy) series implies 16.8 million.  Alternative projections, using assumptions of lower death rates and higher life expectancies, have produced estimates from 23.5 to 54 million people aged 85 and over in 2040 in the United States (see Kinsella, Velkoff, 2001).   Social and economic implications of population agingWhile population aging represents, in one sense, a success story for mankind (massive survival to old ages has become possible), it also poses profound challenges to public institutions that must adapt to a changing age structure.  The first challenge is associated with dramatic increase in the older retired population relative to the shrinking population of working ages, which creates social and political pressures on social support systems.  In most developed countries, rapid population aging places a strong pressure on social security programs.  For example, the U.S. social security system may face a profound crisis if no radical modifications are enacted.  Cuts in benefits, tax increases, massive borrowing, lower cost-of-living adjustments, later retirement ages, or a combination of these elements are now discussed as the possible painful policies, which may become necessary in order to sustain the pay-as-you-go public retirement programs such as Medicare and Social Security. Population aging is also a great challenge for the health care systems.  As nations age, the prevalence of disability, frailty, and chronic diseases (Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, etc.) is expected to increase dramatically.  Some experts raise concerns that the mankind may become a “global nursing home” (Eberstadt, 1997). The aging of the population is indeed a global phenomenon that requires international coordination of national and local actions.  The United Nations and other international organizations developed recommendations intended to mitigate the adverse consequences of population aging.  These recommendations include reorganization of social security systems, changes in labor, immigration and family policies, promotion active and healthy life styles, and more cooperation between the governments in resolving socioeconomic and political problems posed by population aging.On the positive side, the health status of older people of a given age is improving over time now, because more recent generations have a lower disease load.  Older people can live vigorous and active lives until a much later age than in the past and if they're encouraged to be productive, they can be economic contributors as well.  Also the possibility should not be excluded that current intensive biomedical anti-aging studies may help to extend the healthy and productive period of human life in the future (de Grey et al., 2002).