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An Aging World: 2001

Written by:
Report Number P95/01-1

The United Nations designated 1999 as "The Year of the Older Person,” thereby recognizing and reaffirming what demographers and many others have known for decades: our global population is aging, and aging at an unprecedented rate. Fertility decline and urbanization arguably have been the dominant global demographic trends during the second half of the twentieth century, much as rapid improvements in life expectancy characterized the early 1900s. As we begin the twenty-first century, population aging is poised to emerge as a preeminent worldwide phenomenon. The confluence of lowered fertility and improved health and longevity has generated growing numbers and proportions of older population throughout most of the world. As education and income levels rise, increasing numbers of individuals reach "old age” with markedly different life expectancies and personal expectations than their forebears.

This report focuses primarily on people aged 65 years old and over. As is true of younger age groups, people aged 65 and over have very different economic resources, health statuses, living arrangements, and levels of integration into social life. An Aging World: 2001 acknowledges this diversity by disaggregating statistics into narrower age groups where possible. Such examination may reveal important demographic, social, and economic differences that have direct bearing on social policy now and in the future.

Page Last Revised - October 8, 2021
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