Centre for Economic Demography

Lund University School of Economics and Management

Population Ageing

Sweden has been undergoing a process of population ageing, defined as an increase in the mean age of the population, over a period of more than one hundred years. Given existing problems regarding the organization and financing of elderly care, as well as healthcare in general, the question of how Sweden will cope with the large Baby Boom generation when it leaves the workforce and enters retirement is becoming increasingly pressing. There are significant worries concerning how the future financing of the welfare state will be secured.

To this end, the Research Program on Population Ageing has been recently established by CED. This program is also a continuation and extension of an earlier program, The Elderly and the Economy, financed by the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research (FAS), led by the present CED director and with several other CED researchers as members. While population ageing is largely a macro process, events and individual behaviour at the micro level, determine the possible outcomes.

In many respects, this new program overlaps with the other programs at the CED. As declining fertility is a driving force behind population ageing, the programs at the centre dealing with fertility overlap nicely into this program. Studies of individual fertility decisions carried out in the other CED research areas yield information regarding the possibilities to influence fertility levels by changing incentive structures. Recent attempts in Germany to integrate some Swedish family-friendly policies with the aim to raise its low fertility, can be seen as a recent example of such changes in economic incentives.