Volume 29 - Article 23 | Pages 617–640 Author has provided data and code for replicating results

Age groups and the measure of population aging

By Hippolyte d'Albis, Fabrice Collard

Print this page  Facebook  Twitter

 

 
Date received:26 Mar 2011
Date published:27 Sep 2013
Word count:5387
Keywords:age distribution, aging indexes, demographic measures, old age, optimal grouping, population aging
DOI:10.4054/DemRes.2013.29.23
Additional files:readme.29-23 (text file, 1 kB)
 demographic-research.29-23 (zip file, 24 MB)
 

Abstract

Background: Measures of population aging are important because they shape our perception of demographic trends. Indicators of aging based on fixed ages contributed to a dramatic portrayal of demographic evolutions, some of which were associated with the myth of decline.

Objective: We propose a new measure of population aging, based on the relative age of each individual in the population. Our approach builds on previous work by Aghevli and Mehran (1981) and relies on optimal grouping techniques that are used to determine the various age groups within a population. The cutoff ages for these groups, such as the age from which an individual is considered to be an older person, are then endogenous variables that depend on the entire population age distribution at any given moment.

Methods: We show how to apply optimal grouping techniques to age distributions and how to calculate various indicators of aging, which are invariant with respect to proportional rescaling of distributions. We compute these indicators for the US, and a sample of 13 other industrialized countries.

Results: We find that, contrary to common arguments for an aging population, the share of elderly individuals within the total population has not increased much, and has remained stable in these countries. These results complement and reinforce the earlier findings of Sanderson and Scherbov (2005, 2007) who also reassessed the aging phenomenon.

Author's Affiliation

Hippolyte d'Albis - École d'économie de Paris, France [Email]
Fabrice Collard - Universität Bern, Switzerland [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» Education, labour, and the demographic consequences of birth postponement in Europe
Volume 36 - Article 23

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

» LAT relationships: A new living arrangement among the oldest old population in Germany?
Volume 44 - Article 14    | Keywords: old age

» Population aging caused by a rise in the sex ratio at birth
Volume 43 - Article 32    | Keywords: population aging

» Population age structure only partially explains the large number of COVID-19 deaths at the oldest ages
Volume 43 - Article 19    | Keywords: age distribution

» Onset of the old-age gender gap in survival
Volume 42 - Article 25    | Keywords: old age

» The direct and indirect impact of international migration on the population ageing process: A formal analysis and its application to Poland
Volume 38 - Article 43    | Keywords: population aging