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World Bank: Young population to boost PH economic development

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 05:11 PM May 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The relatively young populations in the Philippines and its neighboring developing countries augured well for their economic development though they also must brace for challenges brought by their inevitable aging, the World Bank (WB) said.

“Some middle- and low-income countries (Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, and the Philippines) are expected to experience ‘demographic tailwinds,’ or favorable demographic trends that will boost economic growth, at least in the near term,” the Washington-based multilateral lender said in its report, “Demographic trends and urbanization.

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In contrast to these five countries’ “youthful population structure,” WB said China, Malaysia, Mongolia, Thailand and Vietnam were already transitioning to an aging population wherein those aged 65 and above accounted for 6-14 percent of total.

For countries with young populations, like the Philippines, WB said “the immediate challenge is to optimize this growth and harness the potential of the productive population cohorts, which can be better achieved through inclusive urban policies, especially toward internal migrants.”

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WB noted that about half of the Philippines’ population currently live in urban areas.

“However, in the long run, these countries will also see sharp increases in aging rates and must plan accordingly,” WB said.

In an earlier working paper of the Tokyo-based think tank Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI), “Demographic Transition and its Impacts on Fiscal Sustainability in East and Southeast Asia,” the Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos and Myanmar were identified as among countries currently enjoying their “first demographic dividend.”

“Theoretically, the early phase of demographic transition has a larger proportion of workers, which increases aggregate consumption, cumulative investment, and total labor inputs—thus, output increases,” said authors Upalat Korwatanasakul, Pitchaya Sirivunnabood and Adam Majoe.

“The Philippines represents a young society,” the  ADBI said, citing the country’s estimated 109.58 million total population in 2020 of which 32.92 million was below the age of 14, majority or 70.62 million belonging to the working ages of 15 to 64 and only 6.04 million aged 65 and above.

ADBI said China, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam currently have “aging” societies.” South Korea was an “aged” society while Japan had a “super-aged” society, the think tank said.

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TAGS: aging, Business, demographics, economy, study, World Bank, young population
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