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A new report from the US Census Bureau offers the surprising fact that in the next 30 years, the human population over 65 will double. In ten years, there will be more over-65s than under-fives. Old news, you say? Yes, in Italy, Japan, and Russia this is old news. In developing countries, it is new – and somewhat alarming. In 2008, 62 percent of all those aged 65 and over (313 million people) lived in the developing countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Oceania. The elderly population in developing countries is growing twice as fast as in developed countries (on a not very small base in India and China, as it turns out. Those two countries account for 1/3 of the world’s aged population and 37% of the total global population.)
Chronic diseases (heart disease, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, and the like) are the world’s leading cause of death, and greatest contributor to the global burden of disease. To some of us working in the health field, this is not news. To others, it comes as a surprise that chronic diseases kill more people in the developing world than HIV, malaria, and other infectious diseases combined (WHO).
Yet it was a surprise to us when the World Economic Forum described the global threat of chronic diseases to be more imminent and threatening than – yes, indeed – a global fiscal crisis.
As part of the "Demographics and Development in the 21st Century" series, CGD Senior Fellow David Wheeler will summarize the cross-country research he conducted with Dan Hammer on the economics of population policy for carbon emissions reduction. Wheeler includes assessments of the effects of family planning and female education on birth rates. Their global results indicate that carbon mitigation as a result of population policy has costs comparable to those of the least costly clean technology options. They also find that family planning and female education have very different carbon abatement economics across countries, so cost-effective policy may require careful targeting. UN Foundation's Timothy Wirth will offer comments.
A joint posting by members of the CGD health team (April Harding, Mead Over, Rachel Nugent, Andrea Feigl, and Danielle Kuczynski)
Thursday was a typical morning at CGD: birds chirping, sun shining, the health team arrives at their computers and sits down with a hot cup of coffee to tackle the challenges of the day- only to find that April Harding has circulated an article by Anne Applebaum (AA), on why the World Health Organization (WHO) should focus on infectious diseases, which April called “A really nice piece on why we should care about (and fix) the WHO”.