您现在的位置: 纽约时报中英文网 >> 纽约时报中英文版 >> 国际 >> 正文

人口研究:老人比幼童多 我们该怎么办?

更新时间:2019/5/11 9:24:51 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Why the world now has more grandparents than grandchildren
人口研究:老人比幼童多 我们该怎么办?

For the first time in history, there are more elderly people in the world than young children, according to the United Nations.

联合国的数据显示,世界上的老年人口已经超过幼童,这在历史上尚属首次。

Their figures show that the number of over-65s surpassed that of under-fives at the end of 2018.

数据表明,2018年底,65岁以上人口超过了5岁以下的。

There are now around 705 million people over-65 on the planet, while those aged 0-4 number about 680 million.

如今全球65岁以上的人口大约有7.05亿,而0到4岁的大约有6.80亿。

Widening gap

差距越来越大

Current trends point to a growing disparity between the oldest and the youngest by 2050 – there will be more than two over-65s for each person aged 0-4.

依照目前的趋势,最年长和最年幼两组人口之间的差距直到2050年都会不断增加——届时,65岁以上人口的数量将是0到4岁人口的二倍还要多。

This widening gap symbolises a trend that demographers have been tracking for decades: in most countries we are all living longer and not making enough babies.

逐渐扩大的差距体现了人口统计学家们追踪了几十年的一个趋势,即在大多数国家,人的寿命正在增加,而新生儿数量却不足。

But how will this affect you? Could it already be doing so?

但这对你有什么影响?会不会已经产生了影响?

Not enough ‘arrivals’

新生儿数量不足

Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, says: "There will be very few children and lots of people over the age of 65 and that makes it very difficult to sustain global society."

穆雷(Christopher Murray)是华盛顿大学健康指标与度量研究院的院长,他表示:“儿童数量将很少,65岁以上的人口会很多,全球社会将难以维系。”

Murray is also the author of a 2018 paper in which he suggested that almost half of all countries in the world are facing a “baby bust” – meaning that there are insufficient children there to maintain population size.

穆雷2018年还写了一篇论文,并在文中表示,世界上几乎有半数国家正在经历“生育低谷”,儿童数量不足以维持人口规模。

“Think of all the profound social and economic consequences for a society with more grandparents than grandchildren,” he adds.

“想一想社会中祖辈比孙辈多所造成的严重社会经济影响,”他补充说。

In 1960, the world's fertility rate was almost five children per woman, according to the World Bank.

世界银行的数据显示, 1960年全世界的生育率为每名女性生育将近5个孩子。

Almost 60 years later it has halved to only 2.4.

不到60年,这一数字减半到2.4个而已。

At the same time, socio-economic advances have benefited those who come into this world. In 1960 people lived on average a little over 52 years; the current life expectancy reached 72 years in 2017.

与此同时,社会经济的进步让出生的孩子们受益。 1960年,人的平均寿命只有52岁多一点,2017年则达到了72岁。

That means we are all living longer and demanding more and more resources as we get older, increasing pressure in areas such as pensions and health systems.

这意味着人们活得越来越久,并且随着年龄增长,所需的资源也越来越多,给养老金和医疗体系等方面增加了压力。

Elderly populations

老年人口

The ageing population problem is sharper in developed countries. They tend to have lower birth rates for a number of reasons mostly linked to economic affluence – child mortality rates are lower, birth control is easily accessible and raising children can be relatively expensive.

人口老龄化问题在发达国家更为突出。这些国家的出生率往往更低,原因有很多,最主要在于经济富足,因此儿童死亡率更低,易于采取节育措施,而抚养孩子的花费则相对较高。

In those nations, women often have children later in life, and so have fewer children.

发达国家的女性往往晚育,因此生育孩子的数量也少。

Better standards of life mean people “last longer” in these countries. A prime example is Japan, where life expectancy at birth is nearly 84 years (the world's highest national rate) and where the over-65s amounted to 27% of the total population in 2018 – also the most in the world.

发达国家更高的生活水准意味着人们活得也更久,日本就是最好的例子。在日本,人们出生时的预期寿命将近84岁,是世界上国民预期寿命最久的,2018年65岁以上的人口占到总人口的27%,比例也是全球最高的。

Its under-five population share? Around 3.85%, according to the UN.

日本5岁以下的人口占多少呢?联合国的数据是大约3.85%。

This double challenge has been worrying Japanese authorities for decades, and last year the government announced a compulsory rise in the retirement age from 65 to 70 years.

这两重挑战已经困扰了日本当局数十年,就在去年,政府宣布强制将退休年龄从65岁上调到70岁。

If and when implemented, workers in Japan are set to retire later than anywhere else in the world.

这一政策实施之时——如果实施的话,日本劳动者将成为世界上退休最晚的人。

But imbalanced populations are also threatening developing countries. China has a much lower share of over-65s (10.6% of the population) than Japan, but thanks to the strict birth-planning programmes enforced since the 1970s, the world's second biggest economy also has a comparatively low fertility rate – 1.6 births per woman.

但人口不均衡也同样威胁着发展中国家。中国65岁以上人口的比例比日本低得多(为10.6%),但由于自1970年代开始执行严格的计划生育政策,这一世界第二大经济体的出生率同样较低——每位女性仅生育1.6个小孩。

Under-fives in mainland China are now less than 6% of the total population.

中国大陆5岁以下的人口数量如今不超过总人口的6%。

Quantity of children versus quality of life

儿童数量 VS 生活质量

African countries dominate the rankings for high fertility.

生育率高的都是非洲国家。

Niger, for instance, is the world's “most fertile country”, with 7.2 births per woman in 2017.

例如,尼日尔(Niger)是世界上生育率最高的国家,2017年每位女性平均生育了7.2个小孩。

However, the same nations have high child mortality – Niger has a rate of 85 children per 1,000 live births, one of the highest in the world.

然而,非洲国家的儿童死亡率也很高——尼日尔每千名活着出生的新生儿中有85例死亡,位居全球最高之列。

Replacement rate

替代率

For population purposes, 2.1 is the magic number. It is the fertility rate that demographers say is necessary for populations to replace themselves.

对于人口来说,2.1是个神奇的数字。人口统计学家表示,2.1%是人口能够自行更新换代所必需的生育率。

However, the most recent UN data shows that only a little over half of the world's countries procreate at that pace – 113.

然而联合国最新的数据表明,全世界生育率达到这一水平的国家只有113个——只占全球半数多一点。

Researchers also point out that countries with higher child-mortality and lower life expectancy need a 2.3 fertility rate, a threshold currently reached by only 99 nations.

研究人员还指出,儿童死亡率较高和预期寿命较低的国家需要2.3%的出生率,而目前只有99个国家能达到。

Because of dwindling births, many countries are likely to see their populations shrink significantly, despite the overall global population increase – we are expected to reach the eight billion mark by 2024.

尽管全球人口总数在增加,并有望在2024年底突破80亿大关,但由于新生儿数量下降,许多国家的人口很可能会显著减少。

One of the most extreme cases is Russia: the fertility rate of 1.75 child per woman is expected to contribute to a steep drop in the number of Russians in the next few decades.

最极端的一个例子是俄罗斯:每位女性平均生育1.75个小孩,这一生育率会导致俄罗斯在未来几十年人口显著减少。

The UN Population Division has calculated that the Russian population will decline from the current 143 million people to 132 million by 2050.

联合国人口司预测,俄罗斯人口将从目前的1.43亿下降至2050年的1.32亿。

Economic impact

经济影响

Declining and ageing populations mean fewer people in the workforce, which in turn can lead to a decrease in economic productivity, which consequently hampers growth.

人口下降以及老龄化会导致劳动人口减少,从而造成经济生产力下降,妨碍经济增长。

Last November the International Monetary Fund warned that Japan's economy could shrink by over 25% in the next 40 years due to the ageing population.

去年11月国际货币基金组织曾警告,由于人口老龄化,日本经济在未来40年将下滑超过25%。

“Demography impacts on every single aspect of our lives – just look out of your window at the people on the streets, the houses, the traffic, the consumption. It is all driven by demography,” George Leeson, director of the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, told the BBC.

“人口统计学影响着我们生活的方方面面——看看窗外,看看街上的人、房屋、车辆和消费,统统受到影响,”牛津大学人口老龄化研究所的所长利森(George Leeson)向BBC表示。

Will technology help mitigate the economic effects of an ageing population?

科技能减轻人口老龄化带来的经济影响吗?

Policy and politics

政策与政治

There is consensus, though, that governments need to act in order to defuse this “ageing time-bomb”. And they have been trying to.

不过各方一致认为,政府需要采取行动来拆除老龄化这颗“定时炸弹”,政府也已经在努力了。

China reviewed its “one-child policy” in 2015 and in 2018 signalled an end to birth restrictions overall by next year. According to an op-ed in state-run newspaper The People's Daily, giving birth is “a family and national issue too”.

中国2015年重新研究了独生子女政策,并在2018年表示将在下一年全面终止生育限制。中国官媒《人民日报》上的一篇专栏文章表示,生孩子“是家事也是国事”。

Easing the restrictions has hardly been a silver bullet, though: China recorded 15.2 million births in 2018, the lowest number in more than 60 years.

不过放开限制却并没有解决问题:中国2018年的新生儿数量为1520万,是60多年来最少的。

Chinese academics attributed the drop to a decline in the population of women of reproductive age, and to families putting off plans to have children for financial reasons, especially in families with more educated women reluctant to play the traditional role of main carer.

中国的学者认为,新生儿数量减少的原因在于育龄女性人口下降,此外一些家庭也因为经济原因推迟了生育计划。当家庭中的女性受过较高教育、不想担当主要看护人这一传统角色时,生育计划更会推迟。

Older and stronger

活得更久,身体更好

Population experts warn that policies that promote elderly health need to play a crucial part in mitigating the effects of population ageing.

人口专家告诫我们,在减轻人口老龄化影响的过程中,改善长者健康状况的政策应该发挥重要作用。

The argument is that healthier individuals are more able to continue working for longer and with more energy, which could result in lower healthcare costs.

他们认为,身体更健康就能工作更长年头,精力也更充沛,能够降低医疗成本。

One area that has been overlooked is a more diverse workforce, especially in terms of gender: data from the International Labour Organization (ILO) shows that the global labour market participation rate for women was 48.5% in 2018, more than 25% below that of men.

让劳动力更加多元化的问题经常被忽视,涉及到性别时尤其如此:国际劳工组织的数据显示,2018年女性参与全球劳动力市场的百分比为48.5%,比男性低了不止25个百分点。

“Economies with higher labour force participation rates for women experience fewer growth downturns. More women workers not only make economies more resilient to adverse economic shocks but a labour force with more women also represents a powerful anti-poverty tool," Ekkehard Ernst, an economist at the ILO, explains.

国际劳工组织的经济学家恩斯特(Ekkehard Ernst)解释说:“经济体中,如果女性参与劳动力市场的比例较高,则经济增长下滑的速度会比较慢。女性劳动者更多不仅能让经济体更有抵抗经济冲击的能力,也是对抗贫穷的有力手段。”

What is certain is that the clock keeps ticking.

可以确定的是,问题迫在眉睫。

“全文请访问纽约时报中文网,本文发表于纽约时报中文网(http://cn.nytimes.com),版权归纽约时报公司所有。任何单位及个人未经许可,不得擅自转载或翻译。订阅纽约时报中文网新闻电邮:http://nytcn.me/subscription/”

相关文章列表