Ageing Population Essay- AS/A2 Geography

Aging populations are the most significant factor in population change in MEDCs. How valid is this view? 30 Marks

I obtained 25/30 for this essay so I hope it is useful to you. I studied for A2 OCR Geography.

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  • Created on: 23-06-11 16:48
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Aging populations are the most significant factor in population change in
MEDCs. How valid is this view? (30)
Throughout the world, MEDCs face the issue of an aging population and population
change. This is due to the stage in which that county is according to the demographic
transition model which indicates that as birth rates decline and death rate remain
stagnant, an aging population is created. In the UK for example the baby boom of the
1950s due to increased confidence and the feeling of opportunity mean at the time
now has resulted is a high population of elderly people in the UK. This, combined with
the generous welfare benefits (attributed with Aneurin Bevan), rising economic wealth
and the technological developments in medicine has meant the population in MEDCs is
increasing rapidly and now makes up a significant proportion of the population in many
MEDCs, for example the over 65s make up 16% of the UK population in 2009.
However there are other factors such as migration, government policies, social
expectations and regional differences which make an aging population a significant, but
not the only factor attributed to population change.
The effect of an aging population in the UK can have impact on society and the
economy which can fed through to escalating population change. It can also cause
political, social and economic tensions due to it's impacts. Firstly, an aging population
is likely to be a drain on resources, both physical and financial, as older people will draw
a pension from the government and require extra resources in terms of healthcare and
mobility. The NHS for example is increasingly spending on elderly patients, which cost
several times more to treat than younger patients due to the fact hat they can remain
unwell for prolonged periods of time. Moreover, older people generally live in a house
with one other person, or alone. This can cause a housing shortage, as seen in South
East England where house prices are increasing and 25% of new homes are built in a
plot of land originally dominated by a single property- a term commonly known as
"garden grabbing". This cause issues for first time buyers who find it difficult to climb
the property ladder.
Furthermore, as the proportion of an aging population increase, it would be expected
that the birth rate declines. This is because an older population is not expected to have
children, and this as the proportion of older people grows, the fertility rate of the
country declines below the maintenance fertility rate of 2.1. This is certainly true in Italy
where the fertility has fallen below 2.1 with a population over 66 at 20% of the
population. However it is important to refi nose other factors which lead to declining
fertility rates. The greater importance of women in society through jobs and education
and the fact that women are waiting longer to have children as a career is preferred is
increasing. In the UK, more women 30-35 are having children than the age group of
25-30. In Sweden for example the impact of womens right to a career has impacted
the fertility rate as the government policy was passed to make the transition from
career to motherhood easier with an 18 month paid maternity leave. This helped the

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This highlights the importance of government policy and the role of women and careers
in determining population change, and may be more significant than an aging population
on it's own
The impacts of net migration and government policies should not be overlooked as
their impact in population change are significant and far reaching. Many MEDC
governments such as the UK face relaxing the regulations of migration in order to
boost the population.…read more


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