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Ageing Ireland

Resource type: News

Irish Examiner |

by Stephen Rogers THE Government has been urged to start planning for an ageing population as the number of over-65s is projected to increase 245% by 2060. There are 492,700 people in the country over 65 years – 11.16% of the population. By 2060, Eurostat predicts that figure will reach 1,701,500, 25.2% of the population, an increase of more than 1.2 million. The number of people – over 80 will rise even more starkly. At present there are 122,200 people in that age bracket accounting for 2.77% of the population. However, by 2060, there will be 647,100 people over 80, 9.58% of the population. That is a growth of 430% in the 52 years. The dramatic increase in the elderly creates significant increases on the dependency on the public purse such as pensions and the increased cost of services such as allowing older people to remain living in their own homes and subsidising transport. If that does not put a big enough strain on the public finances, there is also the cost of people under working age who are also classed as dependent. According to Eurostat figures, the number of people under 14 years will increase from the present figure of 900,000 to 1,145,000 by 2060, an increase of 27.2%. However, the people who contribute to the public purse, those eligible to work are set to increase too slowly to support the high number of elderly and young people. According to Eurostat, the number of people between 15 and 64 years is only set to increase from 3,021,500 to 3,905,400, an increase of 29.3%. Age Action is concerned with the elderly, the area where most problems could lie. Its spokesman, Eamon Timmins, said according to the Eurostat results, the old-age dependency ratio will rise from 16.3% to 43.6%. “The figures show why it is so important that the Government starts planning and preparing now for an ageing population,” he said. “We need to address issues such as pensions, services to enable older people remain living in their own homes, transport and employment policies. “Age Action welcomes the fact that the Government has produced a green paper on pensions and is also committed to drawing up a national positive ageing strategy. “However, work on both these key policies must proceed as a matter of priority so that work on implementing the pensions policy and positive ageing strategy can begin during the lifetime of this government,” said Mr Timmins.

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