Ageing and age-structural transition in the Arab countries: estimated period of demographic dividends and economic opportunity

Prem C. Saxena, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai-400088, India

This paper examines the trends of ageing and age-structural transition in 22 members of the League of Arab States by middle of the 21st century. The analysis is based upon medium variant population projections published by the United Nations in 2007. Based on the indices of ageing, Arab states have been classified as ‘Fast’, ‘Medium’, and ‘Slow’ ageing countries. The analysis of ‘support ratio’, showed upward trend from circa 2000 which continued rising up to 2020 for some countries albeit increase in their ‘old (65+)’ populations. Later, however, it showed reversal of trend owing to decrease in labour force. The study gives the estimate of the period of demographic dividends and economic opportunity for these countries. The dividend period is a window of opportunity rather than a guarantee of increasing country’s GDP unless the respective governments do concerted efforts to productively employ the available labour force during the dividend period.

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Presented in Session 59: Dividends of the demographic transition in the Arab world: general cases and exceptions