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Population - Feb 8

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Dependency time-bomb

George Magnus, Guardian
Britain must urgently take steps to prepare for the seismic impact of a rapidly ageing population
... For the first time, Britain's over-65s outnumber people aged under 16. By 2035, these two age groups will have grown by 4 million (or nearly 50%), and 500,000, respectively. The working age group in between will be a little smaller. These developments capture the economic essence of ageing populations, namely the sharp rise in economic dependency of older citizens on those of working age. For the UK, this means that while there are now four people of working age supporting each pensioner, by 2035 it will be just two and a half, and by 2050 only two. The financial and economic crisis is accentuating the urgency of addressing these demographic trends, not least because several hundred million baby boomers (17 million in the UK, 78 million in the US) played a critical part in the economic boom of the last 20 years - and are now spearheading the march towards an ageing society.

The UK, note, is one of the better-positioned advanced nations when it comes to rapid ageing. Japan, Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia and all of eastern Europe are in a far worse situation.
(4 February 2009)

Two children should be limit, says green guru in UK

Sarah-Kate Templeton, Times
COUPLES who have more than two children are being “irresponsible” by creating an unbearable burden on the environment, the government’s green adviser has warned. Jonathon Porritt, who chairs the government’s Sustainable Development Commission, says curbing population growth through contraception and abortion must be at the heart of policies to fight global warming. He says political leaders and green campaigners should stop dodging the issue of environmental harm caused by an expanding population.A report by the commission, to be published next month, will say that governments must reduce population growth through better family planning.
(1 February 2009)

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