News of the WeekDemographic Research

Asia's Looming Social Challenge: Coping With the Elder Boom

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Science  17 Dec 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6011, pp. 1599
DOI: 10.1126/science.330.6011.1599-a

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Asia is graying fast. The portion of the population age 65 or older will more than triple in China, India, and Indonesia—and more than double in Japan—between 2000 and 2050, according to United Nations projections. That's a triumph of civil society and medical science, but it also poses stiff challenges to Asian nations trying to create or strengthen social safety nets. Long-term population studies under way or about to begin will chart demographic, economic, and health transitions—and give governments worldwide clues about how to cope with the aging boom.