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Meeting the challenge of population ageing

Doyle, Yvonne, McKee, Martin, Rechel, Bernd and Grundy, Emily (2009) Meeting the challenge of population ageing. British Medical Journal, 2009 (339). b3926. ISSN 0959-8138

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Identification Number: 10.1136/bmj.b3926


The welfare state is based on a life course that no longer matches current experience. It assumes that people, or at least men and unmarried women, spend their early years in education and then go on to a long period in work followed by a short period in retirement, when they live off the pension accumulated while in work or, more usually, the tax and pension contributions of those still in work. At a time when many people did not survive to draw their pensions or, if they did, survived for only a few more years, welfare systems coped reasonably well. It is less clear whether they will be able to do so in the future. The scale of the challenge is shown by a single stark statistic. If there is no change in work and retirement patterns, the ratio of workers to older inactive persons in the countries that were European Union member states in May 2004 (the EU-25), now at 3:1, is projected to increase to 1:1 in 2050.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2009 BMJ Publishing Group Ltd
Divisions: Social Policy
Lifecourse, Ageing & Population Health
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Sets: Departments > Social Policy
Research centres and groups > ALPHA (Ageing, Lifecourse and Population Health Analysis)
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2013 14:48
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2021 04:23

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