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Old‐Age Support Ratio

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Population ageing is one of the main driving forces behind the wave of pension reforms in recent years. The old‐age support ratio is an important indicator of the pressures that demographics pose for pension systems. It measures how many people there are of working age (20‐64) relative to the number of retirement age (65+). At the moment, there are just over four people of working age for every one of pension age on average. OECD countries have been ageing for some time: between 1950 and 1980, the average support ratio decreased from 7.2 to 5.1. However, the decline in the more recent period has been slower, with the fall from 5.1 to 4.1 taking 30 years. From 2010, population ageing is expected to accelerate. By 2025, the support ratio is projected to reach three and fall further to just over two in 2050.

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: March 1, 2011


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