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Asia-Pacific Population Journal

For over two decades, the Asia-Pacific Population Journal (APPJ) has been taking the pulse of population and social issues unfolding in the region. Published by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), APPJ brings out high quality, evidence-based and forward-looking articles relevant for population policies and programmes in Asia and the Pacific. Prominent population experts, award-winning demographers, as well as lesser known researchers have been contributing articles, documenting over the years the evolution of thinking in this important sphere.

English

“Successful Ageing for Singapore”?: Financial (in)security of elderly persons

Many developed countries across the world have populations that are rapidly ageing. In East and South-East Asia, Singapore, together with Japan, the Republic of Korea and Thailand, has the fastest growing 65 years and older population (Westley, 1998: 1; Gubhaju, 2003: 3). While Japan has doubled its proportion of elderly persons from 10 to 20 per cent over 28 years, Singapore will reach this demographic leap in 17 years. In 2003, 7.6 per cent of the Singapore population was over 65 years of age (Ministry of Community Development and Sports (MCDS)**, 2004a). Owing to improved health care, health insurance and socio-economic conditions, life expectancy has increased in Singapore with large numbers of people from the pre-war baby boom era surviving into their 60s and forming the country’s growing elderly population. According to estimates for 2004, life expectancy at birth for men stands at 76.9 of age and for females at 80.9 (Department of Statistics, 2004). As such, demographers have attested to Singapore having the fastest ageing population in the world (Ogawa, 2003: 95-96; Mehta and Vasoo, 2001: 186; ESCAP, 2002); it has been projected that its ageing population is growing at an unprecedented rate of 3.7 per cent annually (MCDS, 2004b), with the oldest-old cohort (aged 85 and above) growing the fastest (Chan, 2001: 3).

English

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