Some of the most rapidly ageing countries in the world can be found in Southeast Asia. The population of Singapore over the age of 65 is expected to reach 26.6 percent in 2035, whereas the ageing population in Thailand is expected to reach 22.8 percent.
In less than 20 years, almost one in four people – roughly 24 percent of the population – in Thailand would be aged 65 and over, thus making the kingdom a hyper-aged society. The United Nations (UN) defines an ageing society as one where more than seven percent of the population is older than 65. An aged society has more than 14 percent of the population older than 65, and finally, a hyper-aged society is one where upwards of 20 percent of the population is aged over 65.
The Southeast Asian region is only just managing to maintain its population but there are indications that the fertility rates of ASEAN member nations are continuing to fall. In 2016, half of ASEAN member countries recorded total fertility rates (TFR) that were indicative of potentially shrinking populations, while two other countries recorded more than 15 percent TFR reduction over the last decade.
While Japan had the biggest slump in its workforce in Asia over the last 10 years, Singapore has the most to fear from an aging population over the next two decades.The city state will face a double whammy: a shrinking workforce and slower progress than Asian neighbours in getting more people into the labour market.