30 May 2018
China, Macao SAR

Reconceptualizing ageing in China and North-East Asia

World Population Program Deputy Director Sergei Scherbov will present latest IIASA research at an invited lecture at the University of Macau.

Crowded residential area Macau island © AsiaTravel/Shutterstock

Crowded residential area Macau island © AsiaTravel/Shutterstock

Together with long time collaborator and former IIASA researcher Stuart Gietel-Basten, Scherbov was invited to discuss ageing in China and North-East Asia under the framework of new measures. In his presentation, he will show how redefining old age based on changing characteristics of people provide a more accurate assessment of the challenges of population aging and the effects of policies to overcome them.

For many years Scherbov together with Warren Sanderson have developed new measures of age and aging in demographic research. They suggest to broaden research methods to account for significant increases in life expectancy, as the focus on chronological age of people alone provides a limited picture of the process, one that is often not appropriate for either scientific study or policy analysis. Their groundbreaking results have been published in Nature and Science and other high level journals. Scherbov is also PI of the Reassessing Ageing from a Population Perspective (Re-Ageing) project at IIASA that, among other things, ascertains the extent to which advanced societies are actually aging in multiple dimensions, including health, cognitive abilities, and longevity.

The lecture is open to the public and will take place at the University of Macau, Department of Sociology, on 30 May 2018 from 4-6PM.


Reconceptualizing ageing in China and North-East Asia

Population ageing is generally considered to be the major demographic challenge in industrialized and emerging countries in the 21st century. In particular, the pace of ageing in China and neighbors in North-East Asia is often presented as one of the key threats to sustained economic growth and the sustainability of both existing, social (welfare) systems and the position of leaders in the regional and global economy.

However, the manner in which we conseive of this 'existencial threat' is often poorly defined. In this seminar, we dicuss how an more nuanced view of the measures of population ageing  can lead to a more rational picture of the true nature of the challenges ahead. We will present the notion of considering ageing not by the number of people at or above a given age, but rather by considering the 'characteristics' of a population, and how this changes over time.

By adopting this new approach, and by harnessing the power of the new data sources (e.g. big data, biosocial surveys), we are able to pinpoint much more accurately where the true challenges of population ageing in the next century will lie.

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Last edited: 30 May 2018


Sergei Scherbov

Project Leader

World Population

T +43(0) 2236 807 584

Re-Aging Project

Aging Demographic Data Sheet

Policy Brief

Analyzing Population Aging from a New Perspective

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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