EUROPEAN PAPERS ON THE NEW WELFARE

Health and Long-Term Living: Trends and Best Practices in Europe

If we compare these indicators with the forecasted ones for 2020, the imbalances caused by ageing will be more and more evident, in terms of social, economic and organizational structure; without changes in the threshold definition, the ageing ratio will grow until 176%.
It has to be pointed out that life conditions of today’s elderly are significantly different from those of the 50’s, which means that calling ‘old population’ those people who reach a threshold based on anagraphic age might be inadequate: ‘it is to be stressed that what is really going to ‘make old’, is the ageing concept’ (Giarini, 2001). In fact, the new ‘old population’, reflects a heterogeneous universe of people and the characteristics related to ageing are ever less associated to over 65 people.
This means that nowadays, the old population is younger, not only because they live longer than in the past, but, also and especially because their life conditions have progressively and significantly improved.
The recent term used to mean this ‘rejuvenation’ is counter ageing; this definition means that our demographic structure is going to become younger, because we live better and longer and because our capabilities are developing. according to other opinions, it indicates that the increase of immigrants in the younger demographic ages makes a contribution to the counter ageing of autochthonous populations.
If we consider the fixed threshold of 65 years old between 1951 and 2020, it becomes evident how the situation has changed during 55 years: the number of the aged population has drastically increased both in absolute (+198%) and relative terms (+140%). Life expectancy has also increased by approx 5 years for males and approx 8 years for females; moreover, it is believed that this increase in the numbers is going to rise respectively by 1,1 and 1,5 years during the next 15 years.
In other words, if it is true that the Italian population is hardly aged, in a demographic interpretation, it also true that it is going to be rejuvenated, because, for each year reached one person can live more years and in improved conditions.

Table 2: Population ageing in Italy, 1951-2001 (Census data), 2006 and 2020
castagnaro-tab2.gif
Source: Istat, Census data (1951-2001, de jure population), Resident population by age, sex and marital status on 1st January2006 and National population projection by age and sex (2020).

If the threshold remained the same in the next 15 years, the number of old population would reach 13.676.265, which means that almost one Italian out of four would be considered ‘old’. As confirmed by the national population projection by age and sex, ageing is a growing trend destined to last across the coming years.
An interesting way to get over the ageing definition based on an anagraphic age criteria is to assume the ‘dynamic’ thresholds that succeed in shaping the real population needs, thus trying to control the impact of ageing on the Italian socio-economic system.
So, to avoid using the same criteria to compare really different groups of population over the years, because they are subjected to completely different conditions, an interesting hypothesis could be to consider ‘old’, a person with a determined time horizon in terms of life expectancy.
In this first scenario, we consider the constancy of life expectancy at 65 years old in 1951, for males and females respectively.

Table 3: Population ageing in Italy, 1951-2001 (Census data), 2006 and 2020
castagnaro-tab3.gif
Source: Istat, Census data (1951-2001, de jure population), Resident population by age, sex and marital status on 1st January2006 and National population projection by age and sex (2020)

According to this assumption, the number of old people decreases, in line with the increase of the ageing threshold, which accords with males who have to live another 12,6 years, and with females who have to live another 13,7 years; in fact, with this hypothesis, the ageing threshold grows 7 years and 10 years.
In this way, in 2006, we can now consider ‘aged’ a male over 72, and a female over 75.
Also, the share or of the older population would be 47% lower than the one relating to the over 65 threshold of the same year (2006), which does not consider gender diversity. This difference is supposed to have an important impact on the social and economic system.
Another hypothetical scenario could be built up by considering a fixed proportion of ‘old population’ out of the overall population, for instance, the one at the beginning of the observation (1951).

Table 4: Population ageing in Italy, 1951-2001 (Census data), 2006 and 2020
castagnaro-tab4.gif
Source: Istat, Census data (1951-2001, de jure population), Resident population by age, sex and marital status on 1st January2006 and National population projection by age and sex (2020).

Maintaining fixed the 8,2% of the old population during the period under consideration, the ageing threshold demonstrates a considerable increase thus reaching the age of 72 in 2006, and destined to reach the age of 79 in 2020.
In this scenario, life expectancy at the new ageing threshold decreases by approximately 2 years for males and 1 year for females.
If, on the other hand we consider a fixed number of the ‘old population, . that is 3.895.184 over 65 in 1951, the Italian population would be rejuvenated, because the share of the elderly relative to the overall population would decrease from 8,2%, in 1951, to 6,6% and to 6,7% in 2020; but, with comparison to scenario II, the time horizon would be shorter.

Table 5: Population ageing in Italy, 1951-2001 (Census data), 2006 and 2020
castagnaro-tab5.gif
Source: Istat, Census data (1951-2001, de jure population), Resident population by age, sex and marital status on 1st January2006 and National population projection by age and sex (2020).


Pages: 1 2 3


Tags: , ,