Trends in proportion of older persons (60+)
Over the long run, if fertility continues to decline, the share of the population of working age also declines and that of older persons increases, leading to rising dependency ratios and when this happen, the phenomenon is called the ‘demographic burden’. This is an inevitable consequence of demographic transition and every country has to face this problem with development and successful demographic transition.
The UN agreed cutoff is 60+ years to refer to the older or elderly persons. Within the elderly population, further classification like oldest old (normally those 80+) and centenarian (100+) and even super-centenarian (110+) are also made.
Situation in SEAR
As shown in the two graphs below , although the proportion of elderly population which in SEAR was rising at slower rate from around 6% in comparison to world average of around 8% in 1975 has caught up with world rate . In SEAR, the proportion which increased by only 2 percentage points in 35 years (from around 6% in 1975 to around 8% in 2010) is likely to increase by twice as much percentage points in only next 15 years (from around 8% to around 12% in 2025). It means that total elderly population which was 142 millions in SEAR in 2010, is likely to have a quantum jump of 100 million in next 15 years to cross 242 million mark by 2025. The world as a whole will have about 435 million additional elderly persons in next 15 years to reach 1.2 billions by 2025 from present 765 million in 2010.
Women in older age group outnumber men (as shown in the graphs). However, the female to male gap in proportion of elderly population is narrower in SEAR than for the world . Although it is rising in SEAR from merely 0.3 percentage point in 1975 to 1.3 in 2010 and 1.6 in 2025, for the world as a whole this gap was high at 2.3 percentage point in 1975 but kept decreasing and was at 2.1 in 2010 and only slowly increasing after that.