Aging From Fundamental Biology to Societal Impact: Chapter 1 - Global aging and health determinants in a changing world

Elsevier, Aging, From Fundamental Biology to Societal Impact, 2023, Pages 3-30
Miguel Padeiro, Paula Santana, Marcus Grant

Aging is rapidly accelerating worldwide; by 2050, the number of people aged 65 and older will have more than doubled to reach 1.5 billion and represent 16% of the global population. In this chapter, we offer an overview of this demographic trend at the global scale. Beyond the global figures, demographic aging is characterized by many spatial variations across and within countries depending upon fertility levels, quality of health-care provision, socioeconomic development, social conditions, and population policies. We then examine how health and well-being in later life are related to the physical, social, and cultural environments in which older adults are embedded. We finally discuss how contemporary trends exert pressures on older adults, challenge their coping capacities, and pose real equity issues. In particular, four stressors are highlighted: (1) the prominence of neoliberalism and the welfare state retrenchment; (2) climate change; (3) the sharp increase in migration, both national and international; and (4) discriminations.