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Research Urban and Regional Studies Institute PRC

Comparing current and future ageing in Europe and Asia using a new ageing indicator

Principal researcher

Arun Balachandran

Type of research



Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC), Bengaluru, India


Prof. K. S. James (ISEC)

Prof. Leo van Wissen (FRW,NIDI)

Dr. Fanny Janssen (FRW, NIDI)

Dr. Joop de Beer (NIDI)


Population ageing is usually measured by changes in the proportion of the population aged 65 or over or by the old age dependency ratio which is the ratio between the number of people older than the retirement age and the size of the working age population. Some one-dimension adjusted measures like cognition-adjusted dependency ratio also exist. However all these uni-directional indicators ignore that successive generations not only differ in size, but also in the aspects of human and social capital- for example, in the level of educational attainment, labour force participation, cognitive abilities, social participation and health. It is important to have a holistic measure of ageing to understand ageing better.

The PhD project aims to create a multi-dimensional ageing indicator which includes both changes in relative size of the aged and estimates of the changes in their human capital and social capital. Ageing is defined in the lines of ‘prospective age’ and thereby the increase in life expectancy of the aged is accommodated. Such an estimate would allow for extending demographic projections, after accounting for the inclusion of health, income, cognitive and intellectual abilities, inequalities between the young and the old, social participation among the old, old age-friendly external environment, and subjective factors affecting the elderly. Hence, it would be a better estimator of the ageing scenarios of different countries. The project also compares the current and future scenarios of ageing in Europe and Asia using the new ageing indicator. Health and Retirement Surveys in different countries would be harmonized for such an analysis.

The investigation will be innovative in several dimensions. Firstly, it creates a new multi-dimensional measure of ageing after attributing for the changes in life expectancy and changes in the social and human capital of the aged. Secondly, it compares the scenarios of ageing in Europe and Asia from a multi-dimensional view, which has not been exclusively explored before. Thirdly, the future social and economic state of the elderly would be analysed using the new index, with projections of human capital.

Last modified:12 November 2015 3.20 p.m.