05 November 2018
New York, USA

Redefining old age

Sergei Scherbov was invited to give a presentation on new measures of aging developed at IIASA at the United Nations Population Division.

UN in New York © Meinzahn|Dreamstime.com

UN in New York © Meinzahn|Dreamstime.com

65-year-olds today generally have higher remaining life expectancies and are healthier than their counterparts in previous generations. Sergei Scherbov was invited to share new ways of measuring aging that more accurately represent the real world during a presentation at the United Nations Population Division in New York on 5 November 2018. He will show that once more adequate measures of aging are used past aging looks very different and in countries with high life expectancies almost no aging was observed. Future aging trends look much less gloomy when new indicators of aging are used compared to traditional approaches. 

The lunch seminar is targeted at UN staff memebers with a general demography/population background and academics, and some civil society representatives.

For many years Scherbov together with Warren Sanderson have developed new measures of age and aging in demographic research. They suggest to broaden research methods to account for significant increases in life expectancy, as the focus on chronological age of people alone provides a limited picture of the process, one that is often not appropriate for either scientific study or policy analysis. Their groundbreaking results have been published in Nature and Science and other high level journals. Scherbov is also PI of the Reassessing Ageing from a Population Perspective (Re-Ageing) project at IIASA that, among other things, ascertains the extent to which advanced societies are actually aging in multiple dimensions, including health, cognitive abilities, and longevity.

Abstract

Redefining Old Age (Sergei Scherbov and Warren Sanderson)

Most studies of population aging focus on only one characteristic of people: their chronological age. For example, the Old Age Dependency Ratio categorizes people as “old” at age 65, regardless of whether they were living 50 years ago or are likely to be living 50 years in the future. But 65-year-olds today generally have higher remaining life expectancies and are healthier than their counterparts in previous generations. Age-specific characteristics vary over time and place. Focusing on only one aspect of the changes entailed in population aging but not on all the others provides a limited picture that is often not appropriate for scientific study or policy analysis. The presentation is devoted to new ways of measuring aging that more accurately represent the real world. It will be shown that once more adequate measures of aging are used past aging looks very different and in countries with high life expectancies almost no aging was observed. Future aging trends look much less gloomy when new indicators of aging are used compared to traditional approaches. The recently developed characteristics approach for the study of population aging will be introduced and used in evaluating differences in aging across space and time. A number of examples of new measures of population aging using characteristics of people will be are provided. We will also introduce the Aging Demographic Datasheet 2018 that is based on the United Nation, World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision. The datasheet presents adjusted and unadjusted data for all countries of the world and all continents. It features rankings and graphs, and contains a detailed glossary.



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Last edited: 19 October 2018

CONTACT DETAILS

Sergei Scherbov

Deputy Program Director

World Population

T +43(0) 2236 807 584

IIASA Project

Reassessing Ageing from a Population Perspective (Re-Ageing)

Aging Demographic Data Sheet

policy brief

Analyzing Population Aging from a New Perspective

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313