Changing demographic powers human development

by VTV428 April 2016 Last updated at 18:38 PM

VTV.vn - The Asia Pacific – home to half of the world’s population, is witnessing the significant explosion of young people, especially those in the working age, and the rapid increase of elderly people in the population structure.

However, how can such aging process of population, or rapid changing demographics can power human development? This was the major focus of the report on Asia – Pacific Human development publicized on Wednesday in Hanoi.

Asia – Pacific countries is encountering a more rapid transition in their population structure than ever before According to statistic of the UNDP, the number of people in the working-age group accounts for nearly 70% of the total regional population, while the rate of elderly retired people, or the dependent group, is equal to half of that. Such high rates of the young population offers huge opportunities for socio-economic development as they are the vital source of production or GDP growth. Vietnam also follows regional demographic trend, and is gaining benefit from such golden population structure. Meanwhile, according to experts, this period only lasts for 10-15 years. Therefore, it is urgent to have economic gains from this period for Vietnam, particularly by focusing on productivity improvement.

"The challenge I think very much for Vietnam is to make its workforce more productive, moving into higher value added activities, it’s about Vietnamese workers acquire new skills and the country should take on and invest in technology to improve productivity." - Richard Marshall, Policy advisor, Inclusive & Equitable Growth Team, UNDP.

Asian countries, including Vietnam, are in the rapid aging process of population since 2011, with people above 65 accounts for over 7% of the population. Regional countries are facing the problem of growing old before growing rich. Particularly, it takes only 20 to 30 years for them to enter the aging process of population, compared to a hundred years in many European countries. Though this elderly group created the burden for the working age group, they can be turned into a valuable source of countries’ development.

"We should take advantage of the elderly, as in many developed countries, by making the most of their experience and knowledge, especially in policy advisor positions in state agencies." - Nguyen Quang, Habitat Programme Manager, UN Habitat Office in Vietnam.

According to experts, such benefit of the elderly group is potentially reaped in the case of Vietnam.

"Vietnam in this region is having a very high life expectancy level and that continues to improve. So over time what we have seen in many country is actually the retirement ages is reason. So although now we are thinking about this group are elderly in retire, potentially in the future that age will be higher." - Richard Marshall, Policy advisor, Inclusive & Equitable Growth Team, UNDP.

Changing demographic in Asia-Pacific offers both opportunities and challenges, but taking advantages from both working-age and dependent groups is the key to human development.


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