Ageing populations: South Asia

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Effect on economic growth

Aging population to hit Asia growth' , Sep 8, 2017: The Times of India

Economically active populations in China, India, Pakistan, 2016 and median age, 2015; Aging population to hit Asia growth' , Sep 8, 2017: The Times of India

The International Monetary Fund chief warned on Thursday that aging populations in key Asian economies would drag on their growth, urging policymakers to step up their response to shifting demographics.

Studies show that Asia's population is aging faster than anywhere else in the world, with Japan forecast to become the first “ultraaged“ country, meaning 28% of the population is 65 or over, while a fifth of the people in South Korea are expected to be 65 by 2030.

Rapidly aging countries, including China, Japan, Korea and Thailand, “will have smaller workforces in the future and potentially lower productivity growth“, IMF managing director Christine Lagarde said. “These countries could face lower annual GDP growth... by up to a percentage point.“ China and Japan are the world's secondand thirdlargest economies respecti vely, and slower growth in them risks having significant knock-on effects around the world.

Lagarde urged governments to “boost the proportion of women in the workforce“ by better accommodating working mothers with more childcare benefits and incentives for part-time work. In emerging countries such as India -where population is still growing -better education for girls and wider access to finance for women should be prioritised, she said.

She said closing the gender gap in the employment market could raise Japanese GDP by 9%, South Korea's by 10%, and India's by 27%. At Thursday's conference, Bank of Korea Governor Lee JuYeol also called for steps to tackle low birth rates and create more jobs for women and older people.

An earlier IMF report this year projected population growth falling to zero in Asia by 2050 and the share of working-age people declining over the coming decades. Urging policymakers to act early to respond to the ageing population, the report warned: “Parts of Asia risk becoming old before becoming rich.“

See also

Ageing population: India

Ageing populations: South Asia

Senior citizens/ Elders: India

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