Profiling the Elderly: Understanding Recent Trends in Acceleration of African Population Ageing
Henry V. Doctor
Department of Population and Family Health, Columbia University, New York, NY, United States

Recently, the world's population has experienced a remarkable transition from a stage of high birth and death rates to one characterised by low death rates. The core of this transition has been the growth in the number and proportion of older persons. As the tempo of ageing in less developed countries (LDCs) is more rapid than in more developed countries (MDCs), LDCs will have less time to cope with the effects of population ageing than MDCs. Considering the rapid pace of ageing in Africa over the last few years, we take advantage of the African census data to assess the recent paths of population ageing, report on future levels of indicators of ageing and the speed at which they change. We supplement the conventional measures of ageing with ones that incorporate longevity change to provide a more understanding of how these dimensions are expected to evolve. In addition to changes in its level, the speed of ageing is very critical since problems associated with adjusting to demographic change increases with the speed of aging. We hope that this study will contribute to the knowledge of past and future acceleration of African population ageing and call attention of policy makers to address issues that affect the elderly.

Keywords: Ageing; Mortality; Fertility; Sub Saharan Africa

Biography: Dr. Henry Doctor holds a doctoral degree in demography from the University of Pennsylvania. His thesis was entitled “Mortality in twentieth-century Malawi.” He has worked in the USA, Ghana, South Africa and Nigeria. His research interests include Mortality; Health Status and Ageing; Demographic Surveillance and Longitudinal Health Research; and Health Systems Operations Research. Some of his published research has appeared in journals such as AIDS, International Journal of Educational Development, Studies in Family Planning, and Health and Place.