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Family planning, healthier economies

Julia Ross's picture

Countries like South Korea and Thailand have seen similar demographic formulas work to their advantage in recent decades: falling fertility rates lead to burgeoning adult working populations lead to greater economic productivity.

How did they harness these changes to create engines of growth? According to speakers at a World Bank panel on “Realizing the Demographic Dividend,” greater investments in health, family planning, and gender equality paved the way, followed by further investments in education, youth development, and job creation.

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Submitted by Anonymous on
I can appreciate the demographic dividend.But won't falling fertility rates hurt economically in the long run as there are less new workers, less taxpayers and a larger elderly population drawing social benefits? Is that not the problem in many western countries today?

Submitted by Sadia Chowdhury on
Demographic dividends have two parts, the first resulting from declining birth rates and an increased labor supply, where, other things being equal, per capita incomes will rise. The second demographic dividend results from a significant number of workers motivated to invest for their financial security in retirement in order to lower their reliance on or expectations that governments and families will provide for their needs in old age. A number of regions, especially East and Southeast Asia, are poised to benefit from the second dividend, which tends to be economically greater than the first dividend.

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