Economy February 17, 2024 | 8:03 am

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The challenges of an aging population

A dignified life must be assured to those who have filled abundant pages of achievements.

Santo Domingo – Necessary reforms of the Social Security System must be undertaken to ensure a decent pension for retirees and quality healthcare for the entire population.

Given the statement made by Ricardo Hausmann, professor at Harvard University, at a recent conference in the country, that one of the gaps that the country has been closing in relation to developed nations is that Dominican families now have more workers per capita because they are smaller and have fewer children, some might think, without this being the intention of the renowned economist, that the condition of having small families is in itself beneficial for the development of a nation.

This is not the case. The important thing is that the members of the families have a high productivity; that is, the country’s human capital is strengthened, not that there are fewer or more members.

If the family is more prominent, the more productive its members would be, the better it would be. As stated by the World Bank, “for the future and inclusive growth, the Dominican Republic will require a greater increase in productivity through the implementation of reforms to strengthen human capital, competitiveness, innovation, efficiency in public spending and resilience in the face of climate change.”

In this regard, one of the factors that is affecting the proportional growth of the elderly population in the Dominican Republic and Latin American countries is that, in addition to the increase in life expectancy, there is an irreversible trend of reduction in the natural rate, which is leading to more small families and a higher proportion of the elderly population as the years go by.

The population over 60 represented 4.4 percent of the total population in 1950, which rose to 8.6 percent in 2010 and 10.9 percent in 2020. It is estimated to reach 20 percent by 2050.

However, the Dominican Republic is not the country with the most pressing situation in this area.

In 2022, the proportion of older people in some countries and territories, mainly in the Caribbean, was above 20 percent and will exceed 30 percent in the next decade.

These are the cases, for example, of Guadeloupe, Martinique, Puerto Rico and Cuba.

However, this does not prevent the country from falling behind in implementing the necessary reforms of the Social Security System to ensure a decent pension for retirees and quality health care for the entire population.

It is these reforms, plus the one that ensures quality education to raise productivity, which will put the Dominican Republic in a better position to respond when the dependency ratio rises due to the persistent aging process of the population.

This will contribute to the country’s development and dignify the Dominican people by ensuring a dignified life for those who have filled abundant pages of achievements.

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