Some Demographic Aspects of Aging in the German Democratic Republic

Büttner, T., Lutz, W. ORCID:, & Speigner, W. (1987). Some Demographic Aspects of Aging in the German Democratic Republic. IIASA Working Paper. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: WP-87-116

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If people are going to live longer, then the community will have a larger proportion of old people. This is true, but only if other things remain the same, and especially if birth rates remain the same. Rising birth rates could counteract improved survival. In fact birth rates have fallen, in the GDR as in other industrialized countries, so to the survival effect is added a low birth rate effect, and the latter is the major component of aging as it is actually occurring.

What aging has taken place so far, in the GDR as elsewhere in the industrialized world, is slight compared with what is expected to take place before the new century is much advanced. The relatively high births that followed World War II are now adults moving towards the middle working years, and aging will intensity in the future. The people born in the late 1940s and 1950s offer plentiful experienced labor, and that has always been a clear advantage for production. But when technology moves very rapidly experience may become inapplicable, and the question is then whether people at middle ages can unlearn what they know and develop new skills. If they are slow to do so the shortage of young people will seriously handicap production.

This and allied questions are not directly addressed in the present paper, but it does provide the demographic framework for their analysis. The population problem, wherever there is one, shows itself as tendencies that will develop their acutest form in the future. That is why so much of demography is concerned with projections or forecasts. The prospects for industry with its presently aging labor force, the prospects for the overall efficiency of the economy when large numbers start to retire about 2015, the social as well as the economic consequences of an aging society, these are the issues that underly the considerations of this paper. It is an example of fruitful collaboration between IIASA and scholars of a member country.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Working Paper)
Research Programs: World Population (POP)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 01:57
Last Modified: 05 Aug 2023 05:00

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