Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Garcia, Marc A. Catherine Garcia, and Kyriakos S. Markides. (forthcoming). “Demography of Aging.” In D.L. Poston & L.F. Bouvier (Eds.), Population and Society: An Introduction to Demography (2nd Edition). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.


Copyright (c) 2019 Cambridge University Press. Used by permission.


From 2010-2015, the annual growth rate of older adults was 3.3 percent globally (United- Nations 2017). As the proportion of the world’s population continues to age, the increasing number of older adults in the population presents significant challenges for policy makers in nearly all sectors of society. According to the United Nations Population Ageing Report 2017, the global population of adults 60 years and older increased more than two-fold from 382 million in 1980 to 962 million in 2017, and the number is expected to reach nearly 2.1 billion by 2050 (United Nations 2018). While population aging affects nearly every country in the world, the pace of aging has been faster is less developed countries than in developed countries (He, Goodkind, & Kowal 2016).

Demographic changes in fertility, mortality, and to a lesser extent migration, have had profound effects on the age-structure of many societies worldwide. These population trends in global aging require improved data and analyses to assist societies with social and economic shifts in social welfare and health care services, labor markets and retirement, technology, housing, transportation, and intergenerational relationships. With an increasingly larger share in the population of aging adults in virtually every country throughout the world, it is imperative that governments design innovative policies specifically aimed at public services to benefit aging individuals and societies.

In our chapter we present an overview of important issues related to global trends in population aging. We organized this review according to five key areas: (1) demographic determinants of global aging; (2) measures and methods; (3) trajectories of population aging; (4) theoretical considerations; and (5) future research directions.