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World Economic and Social Survey 2007

Development in an Ageing World — 60th Anniversary Edition, 1948-2007

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The World Economic and Social Survey 2007 analyses the challenges and opportunities associated with ageing populations and aims to facilitate discussions in furthering the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing which focuses on three sets of priorities: older people and development; advancing health and well-being into old age; and enabling and supportive environments for older persons. The Survey underscores the need to fully recognize and better harness the productive and social contributions to societies that older persons can make but are, in many instances, prevented from making.

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Old-age income security

Living standards often decline for people at older ages. Reduced economic opportunities and deteriorating health status frequently increase vulnerability to poverty as people age. Such conditions vary greatly, however, across contexts and groups of older persons and livelihood strategies tend to differ accordingly. In developed economies, the main source of livelihood and protection shifts from employment to pension income as one reaches a given retirement age. In developing countries, few have access to pensions and most have to rely on other sources of income. In fact, 80 per cent of the world’s population do not have sufficient protection in old age to enable them to face health, disability and income risks (International Labour Organization, 2002). This would mean that in developing countries alone, about 342 million older persons currently lack adequate income security. That number would rise to 1.2 billion by 2050, if the coverage of current mechanisms designed to provide old-age income security is not expanded. The demographic transition poses an enormous challenge with respect to ensuring the availability and sustainability of pensions and other systems providing economic security for an ever-larger number of older persons in both developed and developing countries.

English

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