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The University of Southampton
Lifelong Learning

Threats in a modern world: An Ageing Population

Population ageing has become something of a ‘hot topic’ in recent years, with a great deal of both governmental and academic research and concern developing in this area.

In the UK alone, there are approximately 10 million people currently aged over 65 years old, and this figure is expected to continue rising to 19 million by 2050. The rate at which the over 65 population is rising faster than the rate at which the entire population is growing, meaning importantly that over 65s will represent a greater proportion of the total population. With a greater proportion of older people in the population there will undoubtedly be pressures put upon the economy and the heath care systems. By understanding how population ageing occurs, it is possible to identify ways in which to help ease the potential ‘burden’ of an ageing population.

This module will focus on population change in the context of population ageing, with a rounded look at the potential consequences and solutions to these. Each week will focus on a different part of the population ageing process, with the use of case studies to demonstrate the mechanisms at work. You will study journal articles and different sources of data to help develop the debate and draw your own conclusions about the topic area. We will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of different arguments, and examine limitations of the data used to form these arguments. This module will primarily focus on population ageing in a ‘developed world’ context, but some thought will be given later to the situation in developing countries, and you will use evidence to examine how much of a threat population ageing poses to the developed world, and establish what steps could be taken by countries on the brink of this ‘threat’ to minimise damaging consequences. Finally, the module will also raise the important question of whether population ageing is even a threat to the modern world at all; using all the knowledge and tools you will have accumulated, we will end the module on a lively debate.

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