- LAST REVIEWED: 05 May 2017
- LAST MODIFIED: 29 September 2015
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756797-0094
- LAST REVIEWED: 05 May 2017
- LAST MODIFIED: 29 September 2015
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756797-0094
The age of a population, or group of people, can change over time and become younger or older. “Population aging” refers to the process whereby older people account for a proportionally larger share of the total population. It is sometimes referred to as “demographic aging” or “global aging.” Increases in life expectancy are clearly a successful result of improvements in public health and medicine. This resultant aging of the population has profound effects on social, economic, health, and political systems that must adapt to the changing age structure. The increase in the numbers of older adults, often accompanied by a slowed growth in the number of children, will have dramatic consequences for public health, economic growth, housing, workforce, and social and health-care services. At the same time, it may inspire new policies and programs designed to promote health, independence, and well-being across the life cycle and to seize on other positive aspects of aging. Population aging is a global phenomenon. Analysis of the aging trends in the United States, for example, reveals changes in the proportion of the population over the age of sixty-five and the important growth within the older population. The proportion of adults aged sixty-five years or older stood at 4.1 percent in 1900, rose to 13.7 percent in 2012, and is projected to increase to 21 percent by the year 2040. The fastest-growing segment of the total population is people aged eighty years and over, with a growth rate twice that for those sixty-five years and older, and almost four times that for the total population. As of 2010, this group represents 10 percent of the older population and will more than triple by 2050.
It is critical to understand the attitudes toward an aging population. Attitudes about Aging: A Global Perspective (Pew Research Center 2014) highlights public perceptions about potential challenges posed by aging for the country and for the respondents personally. Several reports provide analysis of data trends and projections on demographics and other characteristics. World Population Ageing 2013 (UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division 2013) includes information about demographic determinants, demographic profiles and characteristics of older populations, and intergenerational transfers and well-being in old age. Global Health and Aging (National Institute on Aging and World Health Organization 2011) provides a comprehensive examination of numerous population aging issues. Shades of Gray: A Cross-Country Study of Health and Well-Being of the Older Populations in SAGE Countries, 2007–2010 (He, et al. 2012) is a report that gives comparisons across six countries by using data from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Study on global AGEing and adult health (SAGE). An Aging Nation: The Older Population in the United States; Current Population Reports (Ortman, et al. 2014) presents projections on how the age structure of the US population is expected to change over the coming decades. Finally, The Changing Demographic Profile of the United States (Shrestha and Heisler 2011) highlights the changing demographics in the United States and provides examples of how changes will affect the nation over time.
He, Wan, Mark N. Muenchrath, and Paul Kowal. 2012. Shades of gray: A cross-country study of health and well-being of the older populations in SAGE countries, 2007–2010. Washington, DC: US Census Bureau.
This report provides comparisons across six countries by using data from WHO’s SAGE. These overviews highlight characteristics of the “graying” populations in the six middle- and low-income SAGE participant countries.
National Institute on Aging and World Health Organization. 2011. Global health and aging Publication 11-7737. Bethesda, MD: National Institute on Aging.
Examines, from a global perspective, a number of issues related to health and population aging, including aging demographics, trends, and projections; life expectancy and longevity; disability and dementia; data on aging and health; costs of aging and disability; health and work; the changing roles of the family; and long-term care.
Ortman, Jennifer M., Victoria A. Velkoff, and Howard Hogan. 2014. An aging nation: The older population in the United States; Current population reports. Current Population Reports P25-1140. Washington, DC: US Census Bureau, Population Projections Branch.
The size and characteristics of the US older population is important for social and economic reasons both to the public and private sectors. This report presents projections on how the age structure of the US population is expected to change over the coming decades, focusing on the older population in terms of age, sex, race, and Hispanic origin.
Pew Research Center. 2014. Attitudes about aging: A global perspective. Washington, DC: Pew Research Center.
This report highlights the findings from a Pew Research Center survey of twenty-one countries, conducted with 22,425 respondents, to assess public opinion on the challenges posed by aging for each country and for the respondents personally. Trends in the aging of the global population, the US population, and the populations in twenty-two other selected countries are also examined.
Shrestha, Laura B., and Elayne J. Heisler. 2011. The changing demographic profile of the United States. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service.
This report highlights changing US demographics and provides examples of how changes will affect the nation over time. Issues of work, retirement, and pensions; private wealth and income security; the federal budget and intergenerational equity; health, health care, and health spending; and the well-being of the aging population are examined.
UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division 2013. World population ageing 2013. New York; United Nations.
This comprehensive report, fourth in a series, provides descriptions of global trends in population aging. The report is organized into five major chapters, focusing on demographic determinants and speed of population aging, changing balance among aging groups, demographic profile of older populations, characteristics of older populations, and intergenerational transfers and well-being in old age.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
How to Subscribe
Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.
- Access to Health Care
- Action Research
- Active Aging
- Active Living
- Adolescent Risk-Taking Behavior in the United States
- Advocacy, Public Health
- Agricultural Safety and Public Health
- Air Quality: Health Effects
- Air Quality: Indoor Health Effects
- Alcohol Availability and Violence
- Alternative Research Designs
- Ambient Air Quality Standards and Guidelines
- American Perspectives on Chronic Disease and Control
- Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)
- Asthma in Children
- Attachment as a Health Determinant
- Behavior Change Theory in Health Education and Promotion
- Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance
- Bicycling and Cycling Safety
- Birth and Death Registration
- Birth Cohort Studies
- Board of Health
- Built Environment and Health, The
- Business and Corporate Practices
- Cancer Communication Strategies in North America
- Cancer Prevention
- Cancer Screening
- Capacity Building
- Capacity Building for NCDs in LMICs
- Capacity-Building for Applied Public Health in LMIC: A US ...
- Cardiovascular Health and Disease
- Child Maltreatment
- Children, Air Pollution and
- Children, Injury Risk-Taking Behaviors in
- Children, Obesity in
- Citizen Advisory Boards
- Climate Change and Human Health
- Climate Change: Institutional Response
- Clinical Preventive Medicine
- Community Air Pollution
- Community Development
- Community Gardens
- Community Health Assessment
- Community Partnerships and Coalitions
- Community-Based Participatory Research
- Complexity and Systems Theory
- Definition of Health
- Dental Public Health
- Design and Health
- Dietary Guidelines
- Ecological Approaches
- Enabling Factors
- Environmental Laws
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Ethics of Public Health
- Evidence-Based Public Health Practice
- Family Planning Services and Birth Control
- Food Safety
- Food Security and Food Banks
- Food Systems
- Frail Elderly
- Functional Literacy
- Genomics, Public Health
- Geographic Information Systems
- Geography and Health
- Global Health
- Global Health Diplomacy
- Global Health Promotion
- Guide to Community Preventive Services, The
- Health Administration
- Health Communication
- Health Disparities
- Health Education
- Health Impact Assessment
- Health in All Policies
- Health in All Policies in European Countries
- Health Literacy
- Health Literacy and Non-Communicable Diseases
- Health Measurement Scales
- Health Planning
- Health Promoting Hospitals
- Health Promotion
- Health Promotion Workforce Capacity
- Healthy People Initiative
- Hepatitis C
- High Risk Prevention Strategies
- Human Rights, Health and
- Immigrant Populations
- Immunization and Pneumococcal Infection
- Indigenous Peoples, Public Health and
- Indigenous Populations of North America, Australasia, and ...
- Indoor Air Quality Guidelines
- Internet Applications in Promoting Health Behavior
- Intersectoral Strategies in Low - Middle Income Countries ...
- Justice, Social
- Knowledge Translation and Exchange
- Knowledge Utilization and Exchange
- Law of Public Health in the United States
- Media Advocacy
- Mental Health
- Mental Health Promotion
- Migrant Health
- Motor Vehicle Injury Prevention
- Multi-Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis
- National Association of Local Boards of Health
- National Public Health Institutions
- Needs Assessment
- Obesity Prevention
- Occupational Cancers
- Occupational Safety and Health
- Ottawa Charter
- Parenting and Work
- Parenting Skills and Capacity
- Participatory Action Research
- Patient Decision Making
- Pesticide Exposure and Pesticide Health Effects
- Physical Activity and Exercise
- Physical Activity Promotion
- Polio Eradication in Pakistan
- Population Aging
- Population Determinants of Unhealthy Foods and Beverages
- Population Health Objectives and Targets
- Precautionary Principle
- Prenatal Health
- Program Evaluation in American Health Education
- Program Planning and Evaluation
- Public Health, History of
- Public Health Surveillance
- Public-Private Partnerships in Public Health Research and ...
- Public-Private Partnerships to Prevent and Manage Obesity ...
- Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment
- Radiological and Nuclear Emergencies
- Randomized Controlled Trials
- Real World Evaluation Strategies
- Reducing Obesity-Related Health Disparities in Hispanic an...
- Rural Health in the United States
- Safety, Patient
- Sex Education in HIV/AIDS Prevention
- Skin Cancer Prevention
- Smoking Cessation
- Social Determinants of Health
- Social Epidemiology
- Social Marketing
- Statistics in Public Health
- Systems in the United States, Public Health
- Systems Theory in Public Health
- Traditional, Complementary, Alternative, and Integrative M...
- Translation of Science to Practice and Policy
- Traumatic Stress and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Tuberculosis among Adults and the Determinants of Health
- Unintentional Injury Prevention
- Urban Health
- Vaccine Hesitancy
- Violence Prevention
- Water Quality
- Water Quality and Water-Related Disease
- Weight Management in US Occupational Settings
- Worksite Health Promotion