A United Nations-backed meeting on the social, health and economic consequences of population ageing would start in Bangkok, Thailand in July, 2007. The two-day seminar is being held by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), in collaboration with the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). Population ageing, due to declining fertility and increasing longevity, has increasingly come to pose a challenge to the Asia-Pacific region, with the number of older persons in the area to grow rapidly, surging from 410 million in 2007 to 733 million in 2025 to an expected 1.3 billion in 2050.
Older persons, who currently comprise 10 per cent of the total population, would be constituting over 15 per cent of the population in 2025, and nearly 25 per cent in 2050. Such shifts in proportions is going to have tremendous social and economic impacts on income security, social welfare and medical services. There will be fewer caregivers in the near future to attend to older people’s needs since the number of younger people is declining and the number of working women is increasing. Also, migration to urban areas is leaving many older persons behind in rural areas. Participants