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As the demographic window closes: challenges and opportunities for Singapore

Angelique Chan, National University of Singapore

Singapore entered a demographic window of opportunity in the late 1970s and early 1980s as the baby boom cohort reached working age, and drastically lowered their fertility levels. This demographic window produced a “demographic dividend” (Bloom, Canning, and Sevilla 2003) which aided the dramatic economic development of the city State. The next twenty-five years will see an increase in the old age dependency ratio and a closing of this demographic window of opportunity. A high old age dependency ratio may result in decreased economic productivity and increased pressure on family support systems if appropriate policies are not put in place. Using panel data from the 1999 Transitions in Health, Wealth, and Welfare of Elderly Singaporeans: 1995-1999, this paper discusses the policy implications of population aging in the areas of financial security, employment, living arrangements, and health care in one of the fastest aging populations in Asia.

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Presented in Session 77: The demography of Asia