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Population ageing and fiscal sustainability in East and North-East Asia


  • Yejin Ha

    () (Subregional Office for East and North-East Asia, ESCAP)


East and North-East Asia is experiencing unprecedented population ageing. The combined population of the subregion in 2015 accounted for about 22 per cent of the world’s total population, while the population aged 65 or older in the subregion constituted 29 per cent of older persons worldwide. It is estimated that, by 2035, the share of the older population in the subregion would increase to 31 per cent of the total for East and North-East Asia. Japan has the highest proportion of people aged over 65 in the world, and the country’s population size is already shrinking. Similarly, the pace of population ageing is rapid in China. The proportion of people aged 65 or older in the total population is projected to increase from 6.7 per cent in 2000 to 12.1 per cent in 2020 and 27.6 per cent in 2050. All major economies in the subregion, except Mongolia, are likely to face a declining working-age population after 2020. In comparison, the workingage population in the ASEAN-4 countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand) will continue to grow and reach a plateau only after 2050.

Suggested Citation

  • Yejin Ha, 2016. "Population ageing and fiscal sustainability in East and North-East Asia," MPDD Policy Briefs PB33, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
  • Handle: RePEc:unt:pbmpdd:pb33

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