Vienna Yearbook of Population Research 2016


© - Vienna Institute of Demography

 

Special issue on:

Population ageing


Guest editors: Sergei Scherbov and Warren Sanderson


Table of contents


Introduction



Refereed Articles


 

A unifying framework for the study of population aging


Towards a reconceptualising of population ageing in emerging markets


Population ageing dynamics in the North Atlantic region of the Arctic


Certain characteristics of population ageing using a prospective approach: Serbia as a case study


The impact of physical health on the postponement of retirement


Adjusting prospective old-age thresholds by health status: empirical findings and implications. A case study of Italy


Measuring dependency ratios using National Transfer Accounts


Subjective survival expectations and observed survival: How consistent are they?


Time-to-death patterns in markers of age and dependency


A cross-national comparison of 12 biomarkers finds no universal biomarkers of aging among individuals aged 60 and older



INTRODUCTION


Warren Sanderson - Sergei Scherbov 

Journal: Vienna Yearbook of Population Research
Volume: 14, 2016, pages 1-3
Publisher: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
DOI: 10.1553/populationyearbook2016s001

 

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A unifying framework for the study of population aging


Warren Sanderson (corresponding author), World Population Program, International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis, Austria; and Department of Economics, Stony Brook University, USA  
Sergei Scherbov, World Population Program, International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis, Austria; Vienna Institute of Demography/Austrian Academy of Science, Austria; and Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, Russian Federation

Journal: Vienna Yearbook of Population Research
Volume: 14, 2016, pages 7-39
Publisher: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
DOI: 10.1553/populationyearbook2016s007

Abstract:
Aging is a complex, multifaceted phenomenon. In this paper, we provide an integrative approach that allows for the study of numerous dimensions of aging within a unified framework. The framework is based on the translation of quantitative measures of people’s characteristics into a new form of age measure, called “alpha-age.” Two individuals who have the same alpha-age have the same level of the characteristic under consideration. Alpha-ages are easy to understand and analyze because they are measured in years, just like chronological age. Indeed, chronological age is just an alpha-age for which the characteristic is the number of years the person has lived. An advantage of using the alpha-age measure is that it allows for the translation of different characteristics into years of age. Expressing multiple characteristics that are otherwise difficult to compare using a common metric makes it possible to conduct comparative analyses that previously were not feasible. We demonstrate the integrative power of alpha-ages through a set of examples in which we present alpha-ages based on remaining life expectancy, fiveyear survival rates (a rough objective indicator of health), self-reported health, and hand grip strength. We also show how alpha-ages can be used to compute old-age thresholds that vary over time and place, and how alpha-ages can be used to compute intergenerationally equitable normal pension ages. By allowing for the consistent quantitative measurement of multiple aspects of aging, the integrative approach presented here provides us with new insights into the process of population aging.

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Towards a reconceptualising of population ageing in emerging markets


Stuart Gietel-Basten (corresponding author), Department of Social Policy and Intervention, University of Oxford, UK; and Green Templeton College, Oxford   
Sergei Scherbov, World Population Program, International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis, Austria; Vienna Institute of Demography/Austrian Academy of Science, Austria; and Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, Russian Federation
Warren Sanderson, World Population Program, International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis, Austria; and Department of Economics, Stony Brook University, USA 

Journal: Vienna Yearbook of Population Research
Volume: 14, 2016, pages 41-66
Publisher: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
DOI: 10.1553/populationyearbook2015s15

Abstract:
Variously defined, the ‘emerging markets’ [EMs] are frequently held up as the countries that will shape global economic development in the 21st century. However, it is also often said that population ageing could limit growth in many EMs. In this paper, we explore the conventional measurements employed to demonstrate population ageing in EMs, and then move on to discuss whether these measurements are, indeed, ‘fit for purpose’ when studying EMs. Drawing on the literature on ‘prospective ageing’ (pioneered by Sanderson and Scherbov), we present an alternative set of ageing measurements based on a boundary for ‘dependency’ drawn from remaining life expectancy rather than chronological age. Using these measurements, population ageing – at least as defined here – can be seen as a much more manageable prospect for many EMs. We also examine the challenges and the opportunities for EMs associated with population ageing, and consider their potential advantages relative to the EU and North America in managing this trend.

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Population ageing dynamics in the North Atlantic region of the Arctic


Anastasia Emelyanova (corresponding author), International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Laxenburg, Austria   
Arja Rautio, Centre for Arctic Medicine, Thule Institute, University of Oulu, Finland  

Journal: Vienna Yearbook of Population Research
Volume: 14, 2016, pages 67–87
Publisher: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
DOI: 10.1553/populationyearbook2015s19

Abstract:
This paper contributes to our understanding of the demographic developments and the transition to older age structures in the sparsely populated Arctic region: in Iceland and in the two Danish autonomous territories of the Faroe Islands and Greenland.We compare the population ageing dynamics of the region with those of mainland Denmark for the 1980–2015 period.We also examine whether population ageing has been developing differently in the communities of the North than in Denmark, and shed light on the question of whether a regionally specific policy approach to population ageing is required. In our study, ageing is measured by applying a dual methodology. The two sets of indicators are based on calculations of “chronological” and “prospective” ages. The latter is an innovative approach developed by Sanderson and Scherbov (2008) that considers improvements in life expectancy over time. Our results show that the size of the North Atlantic region’s older population is well below the Danish national average. According to chronological indicators, the ageing rates have been rising in recent years. Prospective indicators, which take into account changes in population longevity, also provide information about competing trends in population rejuvenation. In addition, the prospective approach reveals a cross-territorial convergence in recent decades, as well as a slower pace of ageing that can be accounted for in policy planning.

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Certain characteristics of population ageing using a prospective approach: Serbia as a case study


Jelena Stojilkovic Gnjatovic (corresponding author), Faculty of Geography, University of Belgrade, Studentski Trg III/3, Belgrade, Serbia   
Mirjana Devedzic, Faculty of Geography, University of Belgrade, Serbia

Journal: Vienna Yearbook of Population Research
Volume: 14, 2016, pages 89-106
Publisher: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
DOI: 10.1553/populationyearbook2016s098

Abstract:
The aim of this research is to show trajectories of population ageing in Serbia according to chronological and prospective criteria. The data used are from the complete period life tables published around the census years from 1953 to 2011. The emphasis is on the most recent period, since these data allow us to incorporate a regional dimension into the study, and to carry out the analysis at the municipal level. Throughout this study period, the prospective age threshold in Serbia was below the retrospective threshold; as a consequence, the proportion of people with a life expectancy of 15 years or less was consistently higher than the share of people aged 65 or older. Only the most recently available data for 2010/2012 indicate that the share of the population with a life expectancy of 15 years or less was the same as the share of the population aged 65+, albeit with uneven contributions by the male and female populations. Indeed, the use of the prospective approach highlights the unfavourable mortality conditions in Serbia, which are not made clear when only the chronological approach to population ageing is applied.

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The impact of physical health on the postponement of retirement


Michael Boissonneault (corresponding author), Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI-KNAW)/University of Groningen, The Netherlands Address for correspondence: P.O. Box 11650, NL-2502 AR The Hague, The Netherlands   
Joop de Beer, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI-KNAW)/University of
Groningen, The Netherlands 

Journal: Vienna Yearbook of Population Research
Volume: 14, 2016, pages 107-130
Publisher: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
DOI: 10.1553/populationyearbook2016s107

Abstract:
To mitigate the effects of population ageing, measures aimed at encouraging people to work longer are being implemented in many countries. However, older people are usually in poorer physical health, and poorer physical health is associated with premature labour force withdrawal. We investigate whether the age-related decline in physical health represents a hurdle to higher labour force participation levels at older ages by proposing a simulation in which the age profile of physical health stays constant over time, while all other factors that predict labour force participation are postponed. The model is fitted using data collected by the Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) in 14 European countries. The results show that on average across these countries, the effect of health on labour force participation levels is small. This effect is slightly bigger in countries in which labour force participation levels and the share of the population receiving disability benefits are already high. Thus, the decline in physical health with age should not greatly limit the effectiveness of policies designed to encourage employment at older ages.

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Adjusting prospective old-age thresholds by health status: empirical findings and implications. A case study of Italy


Elena Demuru (corresponding author), Statistician at NIHMP - National Institute for Health, Migration and Poverty, Rome, Italy, Postal address: Via di San Gallicano 25, 00153, Roma, Italy,   
Viviana Egidi, Professor at “Sapienza” University of Rome - Department of Statistical Sciences, Rome, Italy

Journal: Vienna Yearbook of Population Research
Volume: 14, 2016, pages 131-154
Publisher: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
DOI: 10.1553/populationyearbook2016s131

Abstract:
While traditional measures of population ageing are bound to the concept of chronological age, new indicators have been proposed that take into account the dramatic changes that have occurred in later life due to increasing longevity. In this paper, we re-evaluate demographic ageing in Italy using prospective oldage thresholds based on both total remaining life expectancy and remaining life expectancy in good health. We show that the proportion of individuals above the prospective thresholds has been increasing much more slowly than the proportion of people aged 65 years and older, and that the increase in the proportion of individuals above the prospective thresholds adjusted for health status has been more or less large depending on trends in health status at older ages. Given these results and the ongoing improvements in health conditions among older people, we think the consequences of population ageing for Italian society could be less severe than expected.

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Measuring dependency ratios using National Transfer Accounts


Mikkel Christoffer Barslund (corresponding author), Centre for European Policy Studies, Place du Congr`es, B-1000 Bruxelles, Belgium   
Marten von Werder, Freie Universit¨at Berlin, Germany  

Journal: Vienna Yearbook of Population Research
Volume: 14, 2016, pages 155-186
Publisher: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
DOI: 10.1553/populationyearbook2016s155

Abstract:
It is now widely recognised that the socio-economic changes that ageing societies will bring about are poorly captured by the traditional demographic dependency ratios (DDRs), such as the old-age dependency ratio that relates the number of people aged 65+ to the working-age population. Compared to the older people of today, future older generations will be in better health, and will likely work longer. However, strictly from a public finance perspective, the extent to which the DDRs capture the challenges that stem from ageing depends on future changes in the age structure of the population, in behavioural patterns, and in age-related public transfers. Combining population projections and National Transfer Accounts (NTA) data (i.e., data on age-specific public transfers), we construct a ‘transferbased’ demographic dependency ratio for seven European countries up to 2050. We then compare the quantitative impact of the transfer-based DDR with that of the traditional DDR for three different policy responses to population ageing: net immigration, healthy ageing, and longer working lives. This is done by linking agespecific public health transfers and labour market participation rates to changes in mortality. Four main findings emerge. First, the simple old-age dependency ratio overestimates the future public finance challenges faced by the countries studied, and substantially so for some countries, such as Austria, Finland, and Hungary. Second, healthy ageing (i.e., keeping health transfers constant for a given mortality rate) has a modest effect on public finances, except in the case of Sweden, where it plays an important role. Third, the long-run effect of immigration is captured well by the traditional DDR measure if the common assumption that immigrants are similar to natives is maintained. The immediate to short-term impact of immigration tends to be overstated by the traditional DDR measure. Finally, increasing the average length of working life is central to addressing the public finance challenge of ageing. We estimate that extending the average length of working life by three to five years over the next 25 years – roughly in line with the gain in life expectancy – will substantially reduce the impact of ageing on public transfers.

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Subjective survival expectations and observed survival: How consistent are they?


Alberto Palloni, Center for Demography of Health and Aging, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 4434 Sewell Social Sciences, 1180 Observatory Drive, Madison, Wisconsin 53706-1393, U.S.A.   
Beatriz Novak, Center for Demographic, Urban and Environmental Studies, El Colegio de Mexico

Journal: Vienna Yearbook of Population Research
Volume: 14, 2016, pages 187-228
Publisher: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
DOI: 10.1553/populationyearbook2016s187

Abstract:
In this paper, we use new models to convert subjective expectations elicited from individual responses into conditional survival functions.We also estimate the effects of individual characteristics and assess the impact of health shocks on individual updates of subjective expectations. We use Health and Retirement Study (HRS) data from 1992 to 2006. By and large, our results confirm past empirical findings, but also identify patterns not documented in previous research. We show that the subjective probabilities are remarkably close to the results of actual life tables constructed from observed data, that whites underestimate their survival chances more than blacks, that women underestimate their survival chances more than men, and that the subjective underestimation of conditional survival increases with age in all population subgroups. We find significant differences in the survival outlooks of the original HRS cohort and a more recent HRS cohort (1992 versus 2004). These differences persist after introducing suitable controls. The observed mortality differentials between smokers and non-smokers, obese and non-obese individuals, and high-education and low-education groups are quite close to those of these subgroups’ subjective survival expectations. Finally, we find large updating effects that result from recent health shocks on subjective expectations.

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Time-to-death patterns in markers of age and dependency


Tim Riffe (corresponding author), Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany   
Pil H. Chung, Department of Demography, University of California, Berkeley, U.S.A.
Jeroen Spijker, Centre d’Estudis Demogr`afics, Barcelona, Spain
John MacInnes, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh, U.K.

Journal: Vienna Yearbook of Population Research
Volume: 14, 2016, pages 229-254
Publisher: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
DOI: 10.1553/populationyearbook2016s229

Abstract:We aim to determine the extent to which variables commonly used to describe health, well-being, and disability in old age vary primarily as a function of years lived (chronological age), years left (thanatological age), or as a function of both. We analyze data from the U.S. Health and Retirement Study to estimate chronological age and time-to-death patterns in 78 such variables.We describe results for the birth cohort 1915–1919 in the final 12 years of life. Our results show that most of the markers used to study well-being in old age vary along both the age and the timeto- death dimensions, but that some markers are exclusively a function of either time to death or chronological age, while other markers display different patterns in men and women.

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A cross-national comparison of 12 biomarkers finds no universal biomarkers of aging among individuals aged 60 and older


David H. Rehkopf (corresponding author), Assistant Professor, Stanford University, Division of General Medical Disciplines, 1070 Arastradero Road, Suite 300, Room 305, Palo Alto, CA 94304, U.S.A.    
Luis Rosero-Bixby, Emeritus Professor, University of Costa Rica and Research Associate, University of California, Berkeley, U.S.A.
William H. Dow, Professor, University of California, Berkeley, U.S.A.

Journal: Vienna Yearbook of Population Research
Volume: 14, 2016, pages 255-277
Publisher: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
DOI: 10.1553/populationyearbook2016s255

Abstract:There is uncertainty about whether biological and anthropometric measures that are clinical risk factors for disease are universally associated with chronological age, or whether these correlations vary depending on the social and economic context. The answer to this question has implications for the malleability of biological aging. To examine this issue, we use population-based data on individuals aged 60 and older from the Costa Rican Study on Longevity and Healthy Aging, and temporally consistent data from the United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and the United States Health and Retirement Study. Our analysis focuses on 12 biomarkers that have been shown in the literature to have an association with age, and that occur prior to the clinical manifestation of disease. We find that there are few consistent patterns of association with age when these biomarkers are stratified by gender, country, and level of education. This result suggests that these measures of biological aging are highly context-dependent, and that none of the 12 biomarkers we examined are universal biomarkers of aging. Future research that investigates composite measures of biological age should test newly proposed measures across gender, social class, and country.

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