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Demographic aspects of aging


Population aging is occurring in almost all developed countries, albeit with differences in timing and intensity. This unprecedented phenomenon is evident not only in the change in the population age structure, but also in the impressive increase in the average length of life. After describing past, current, and future population trends, this contribution presents theories explaining the reasons for this long-term process that is completely reshaping the age structure of the population. It also describes the inequalities in aging (focusing in particular on the differences by gender, education, and cause of death), and introduces some measures of the individual health and economic consequences of population aging. The conclusions mention the main consequences of an aging society (e.g., problems related to the costs of health and pension programs for old people), and of an increase in individual life span (e.g., the effects on the well-being and life-styles of individuals, and on the social and economic lives of older people and their families).