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Changed emigration as an anti-ageing formula

Marianne Tønnessen, Oslo Metropolitan University
Astri Syse, Statistics Norway

Population ageing is a topic of great concern in many countries. To counteract the negative effects of ageing, increased fertility and/or increased immigration are often proposed as demographic solutions. However, substantial long-term fertility increases have proved difficult to achieve, and whereas increased immigration usually reduces ageing in the short-term, it may be politically controversial and have limited effects in the long term, because immigrants also age. However, in this discourse, changed emigration is rarely mentioned. This paper explores how changed emigration could mitigate the challenges of an ageing population. Using cohort-component methods, we create scenarios of future populations and old-age dependency ratios in Norway with differing levels of emigration. We show the effects of changed emigration rates among the population as a whole and for different subgroups (such as immigrants/natives). We also estimate how much fertility and immigration would have to change to yield the same effects for population counts and ageing. By comparing how much these components would need to change to limit the growth in future old-age dependency ratios while discussing the opportunities of potential policies to substantially affect fertility, immigration, and emigration, we assess how realistic each of these demographic remedies to counteract ageing may be.

Keywords: Population projections, forecasts, and estimations, Population ageing, International migration, Politics and demography

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  Presented in Session 99. Migration Patterns: Internal and International