KATHMANDU – population ageing is occurring throughout the world. According to the United Nations Population Fund, people aged 60 and older make up 12.3 per cent of the global population, and by 2050, that number will rise to almost 22 per cent. Interestingly, about two-thirds of the world’s older persons live in the developing regions, where their numbers are growing faster than in the developed world. In 2050, it is estimated that nearly 8 in 10 of the world’s older persons will be living in the developing countries.

Therefore, there is urgent need of robust analysis to generate new evidences on the patterns and trends of population ageing. This would be very helpful in ensuring that ageing issues are integrated into the national development policies and poverty reduction strategies. While population ageing is largely driven by reductions in fertility and improvements in longevity, it is an inevitable result of the demographic transition. Some countries still face large immigration flows, and hence the international migration can temporarily slow the ageing process as the migrants tend to be concentrated in the working age group.

While fertility has been the most influential factor in shaping the trends in the number and proportion of older persons over the long term, improvements in the survival to an older age have significantly contributed to population ageing. Like many other developing countries, Nepal has also been experiencing very rapid demographic changes in the last few decades due to transition from a high-mortality, high-fertility society to a low-mortality, low-fertility society within a relatively short span of time. Several studies show that the size and age structure of the population can have profound impacts on socio-economic development.

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