Is the HIV/AIDS epidemic accelerating or decelerating population ageing in South Africa?

Bärbel B. Haldenwang, Institute for Futures Research

Population ageing is an unprecedented, global demographic phenomenon with profound consequences and implications for all facets of human life. It is the inevitable result of declining fertility and increasing life expectancy, which in turn, is a direct consequence of declining mortality. South Africa is no exception to this world-wide population ageing trend. Fertility rates have been declining and life expectancy increasing since the 1970s, although at different rates and levels for the four population groups in the country. South Africa is also experiencing a severe HIV/AIDS epidemic and is home to the largest HIV-infected population in the world. The demographic impact of this epidemic is already visible through increasing mortality rates, declining life expectancy at birth, changing age structures and lower population growth rates. The aim of this paper is to determine the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on population ageing in South Africa during the next three decades.

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Presented in Poster Session 4