Urbanisation and demographic ageing are transforming the developed world. With falling birth rates and most people living longer and healthier lives than ever before, population ageing is now the dominant demographic trend in advanced economies – and while different places experience it in different ways, the trend is clear everywhere.
Responses to this fundamental shift in the structure of our populations have tended to focus on a narrow group of perceived challenges. National governments have tended to homogenise and problematise ageing, focussing on worries about rising health, pension and welfare costs and a declining labour force on the basis of technical 'dependency ratio' calculations. More nuanced responses have sometimes been pursued, but the potential that many older people have has not been fully appreciated or reflected in public policy. Similarly, at a sub-national level, cities and regions have sought to service the welfare and care needs of ageing populations rather than look at the issue in the round across their economic and social policies. This approach is increasingly unsustainable.
This report aims to promote a positive, long-term and integrated response to ageing in cities which will contribute to the delivery of economic growth, employment and inclusion for people of all ages. It analyses trends in employment, consumption and investment among older people, and through case studies demonstrates that new strategies for demographic change can create significant opportunities for older people to become critical actors in local economic development, which bring with it broader economic dividends for populations as a whole. It also identifies a number of principles that must underpin successful approaches to demographic ageing both at national and local levels.
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