2018 World Population Data
CHANGING AGE STRUCTURES | EMPLOYMENT
Old-Age Labor Force Participation Decreases for Men in Developing Regions
A country's age structure and its socioeconomic and political contexts can influence the labor force participation rate (LFPR) of older adults. At the same time, old-age LFPR can impact countries’ policies and social support structures. Rates vary considerably by country. Overall, they tend to be higher in countries in the high and moderate child dependency categories. However, many countries in these categories, including the Philippines, show an emerging pattern of decline in older men’s LFPR. In contrast, older adults’ LFPR is generally rising in high old-age dependency category countries. This rise is driven in part by longer life expectancies and policies that provide incentives to keep older adults in the formal labor market. Older women’s LFPR is increasing in many countries around the world, spurred by social security reforms and changing cultural norms.
Brazil, an emerging economy with moderate child dependency, is part of a group of developing countries that in recent decades have seen a decline in LFPR among those 65+. Brazil’s LFPR was estimated at just over 30 percent among older men in 2014, a decline of 4 percentage points from 10 years earlier. LFPR also decreased slightly among older women, going against the global trend. This decline occurred alongside increased access to pension programs―Brazil’s average retirement age stands at 56 years for men and 53 years for women. Policymakers concerned about the current system’s sustainability are now proposing alternative policies that aim to increase the average retirement age and reduce social security benefits.
Japan, with one of the world’s oldest populations, has already taken steps to keep older adults in the workforce. Over the past three decades, it has implemented policies that reduce the amount that older adults receive in their public pension benefits and that increase the eligibility age for those benefits. However, Japan’s old-age LFPR―which is higher than in most other more-developed countries―has only begun to rise over the past ten years or so. This growth in old-age LFPR reflects numerous demographic and socioeconomic trends in the country, including increases in life expectancy, more flexible employment opportunities, greater female participation in the labor force, and changes in social security benefits.
Older adults’ labor force participation tends to be higher in countries in the high and moderate child dependency categories, but older men’s labor force participation has decreased in many of these countries.SHARE ON TWITTER