Redefining "Old Age" and "Dependency" in the East- and Southeast- Asian Social Policy Narrative

Stuart A. Basten, University of Oxford
Georgia Verropoulou, University of Piraeus

East- and Southeast- Asian societies are currently some of the most rapidly ageing in the world. Projections of the traditional old age dependency ratios (OADR) present a daunting future. Recently, Sanderson and Scherbov, have argued that OADR is inadequate as a guide to future levels of dependency. Indeed, in the context of rapidly ageing settings in East with developmental welfare states and some Southeastern states with minimal welfare coverage, the OADR has probably never been truly relevant, is profoundly unhelpful and could lead to policy paralysis. As such, Sanderson and Scherbov suggest a new method to measure ageing prospectively to take into account both improved life expectancy and health across the life-course. We introduce these new measurements as a possible new, more radical and optimistic way to think about ageing in East- and Southeat- Asia, with some specific examples for Hong Kong.

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Presented in Session 223: Measurement and Projections of Population Aging