/ [IETLS writing] In many countries, the proportion of older people is steadily increasing
In many countries, the proportion of older people is steadily increasing.
Does this trend have positive or negative effects on society?
More and more elderly people in today's society
Older people have made up more of the population in the west than ever and their share is relentlessly rising. Though they may make extraordinary contributions, the demographic transition has a severe impact on society.
To begin with, it's necessary to clarify what the aging trend actually means. First, it involves larger older population, who, admittedly, are special assets to society for their experience, knowledge, sophistication and growing eagerness to continue working. More Often than not they are the backbone of their fields, as proved by Nobel-winners. The leading figures in science are all at an advanced age.
However, the steady increase in senior citizens also drives up healthcare costs, since the elderly are vulnerable to disease and sometimes suffer from more than one condition at a time. According to the WHO, the over-60s already account for a quarter of the global burden of death and illness. Financial pressure is exerted on sociality. More resources have to be allocated to them and then the share of others is squeezed.
The situation is even worse, given the fact that the higher proportion of the old also involves, though not obviously, lower birth rates and the consequent smaller younger population. In this respect, social institutions for children and adolescents bear the most direct effects. In Japan, for instance, over 400 schools are forced to shut down per year from 2003 onwards.
Labor markets are not spared either, since youths are the major source of workforce. It is certain to shrink when the numbers of younger people reduce. The elderly cannot compensate for the shortage. In general, they are less energetic and ambitious and their physical conditions don't allow them to work as blue collars. Smaller labor force leads to fewer taxpayers. The financial pressure from older people becomes all the more unaffordable.
The conclusion is clear: the comparative increase in older people adds to financial burden and weakens labor force. It causes comprehensive, far-reaching, and above all, mainly negative effects on society.