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Preventing Ageing Unequally

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This report examines how the two global mega-trends of population ageing and rising inequalities have been developing and interacting, both within and across generations. Taking a life-course perspective the report shows how inequalities in education, health, employment and earnings compound, resulting in large differences in lifetime earnings across different groups. It suggests a policy agenda to prevent, mitigate and cope with inequalities along the life course drawing on good practices in OECD countries and emerging economies.

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Foreword and acknowledgements

The health status and income levels of older people have substantially improved over the last decades in OECD and emerging countries. This Preventing Ageing Unequally report shows, however, that risks of increasing inequality among future retirees have been building up. Demographic changes combined with rising inequality trends and tight public finance constraints in many countries are modifying life prospects at older ages. With longer life expectancy, declining family size, higher inequality over the working lives and reforms that have reduced future retirement income and tightened the links between pension contributions and benefits, the experience of old age is going to change dramatically for today’s younger generations. Financing of pensions and caring for elderly people in particular might become more difficult, aggravating the burden for the most disadvantaged. The sustained and fairly generalised improvement in the living standards of older people is unlikely to be prolonged in the forthcoming decades.

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