Most studies of population aging focus on only one characteristic of people: their chronological age. For example, the Old Age Dependency Ratio categorizes people as “old” at age 65, regardless of whether they were living 50 years ago or are likely to be living 50 years in the future. But 65-year-olds today generally have higher remaining life expectancies and are healthier than their counterparts in previous generations. Age-specific characteristics vary over time and place. Focusing on only one aspect of the changes entailed in population aging but not on all the others provides a limited picture that is often not appropriate for scientific study or policy analysis. The presentation is devoted to new ways of measuring aging that more accurately represent the real world. It will be shown that once more adequate measures of aging are used past aging looks very different and in countries with high life expectancies almost no aging was observed. Future aging trends look much less gloomy when new indicators of aging are used compared to traditional approaches. The recently developed characteristics approach for the study of population aging will be introduced and used in evaluating differences in aging across space and time. The main idea of the approach is the conversion of different characteristics that reflect people’s physical, cognitive or health conditions to a single metric. The hallmark of the approach is the consistent use of changing characteristic schedules together with changing age structures, regardless of the exact way in which the two are combined.
Speaker Sergei Scherbov,International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria short bio
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