One third of Armenia’s population to be over 60 by 2050
YEREVAN (ArmRadio)—The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Armenia and the Armenian Ministry of Labor and Social Issues (MLSI) held a joint press conference on Tuesday devoted to the 2013 International Day of Older Persons. Garik Hayrapetyan, UNFPA Armenia’s Assistant Representative, and Anahit Gevorgyan, Head of the MLSI Department for Elderly Issues, spoke at the press conference.
According to the speakers, Armenia is among the countries with a rapidly growing share of elderly people in its population. Around 14.4 percent of the country’s population is already over 60. The decline in childbearing and the migration of economically and reproductively active people contribute to aging in the population. Still, the main contributor to aging is prolonged life expectancy due to the achievements of modern medicine. According to the projections of the recent UNFPA expert analysis, by 2050, almost one third, 31.5 percent, of Armenia’s population will be over 60.
“Such a growing share of elderly people in the population structure implies a significant additional burden for the state, and it is very important to develop and implement appropriate policies beforehand. One of the solutions could be implementation of the concept of “active aging,” according to which elderly people stay active members of society, their communities, and families for as long as possible,” said Garik Hayrapetyan, UNFPA.
Anahit Gevorgyan, Head of the MLSI Department for Elderly Issues, presented the state’s proposed policies regarding elderly people, including current and future measures to tackle the problems of an older population.
The aging of a considerable portion of Armenia’s population would also mean a diminishing ratio for the number of working people aged 15-63 per one 63-year-old or older person, who must be supported. As the UNFPA analysis shows, this ratio can mainly be mitigated by combined growth in fertility and employment. However, whereas overcoming unemployment might be a difficult, but achievable, task, increasing the fertility rate seems to be a prohibitively expensive exercise, especially if taking into account the fact that Armenia’s natural rate of population growth is expected to soon dip into the negatives.
Armenia is 51st among 91 countries in the Global Age Watch Index 2013, which ranks countries by how well their ageing populations are faring. It is based on four domains that are considered key enablers of older people’s wellbeing: income, health, employment and education, and an enabling environment.
Armenia features in the lower half of the Global Age Watch Index, ranking 51. It is one of the top performers globally in terms of employment and education, ranking 3 out of 91 countries, but ranks very poorly in the health status and enabling environment domains at 75 and 80 respectively.
According to the report, Armenia faces significant challenges due to rapid population aging and the lack of reforms in place to mitigate its impact. Armenia is already considered an “ageing” country, with more than 30% of the population predicted to be aged 60 or over by 2050.
Russia is 78th on the Global Age Watch Index, Georgia and Turkey are ranked 37th and 70th respectively. No data is available about Iran and Azerbaijan.