In a lecture organized by the Centre of Information Affairs in Abu Dhabi, Dr. Sergei Scherbov, the leader of research group “Population Dynamics and Forecasting” at the Vienna Institute of Demography, said that education and development always go side by side, stressing that education of women is the main factor that led to fertility decline in high fertility countries.
He indicated that once poor countries become more developed and once women there are more educated, the issue of very high fertility will also become a thing of the past. However, “we should not forget that due to population momentum, population will still continue to grow for some time after fertility decline.” He said, “in my opinion certain means will be discovered that will increase life expectancy. I am not sure if it will happen overnight. Most likely it will occur gradually.” According to a group of scientists from the Oxford University, the human lifespan is not only increasing but this increase is accelerating, he added.
This group, he said, believes that in relatively short time people will regularly live up to 120 years. He quoted Aubrey de Grey, a biomedical gerontologist from Cambridge University, as believing that the first person to live to 1,000 has already been born.
Dr. Scherbov expected that, in 50 years from now, people aged 60 and over will be healthier and stronger, and are expected to work longer.
“Our calculation showed that increasing retirement age by a couple months per year will ensure that old-age dependency ratio will stay almost constant in many developed countries,” he said, adding that research has recently shown that the speed of aging is going to be the highest in the next several decades, which makes it more difficult to adjust to fast changes. That is why governments have to take measures now to be ready to face the problem of aging, he noted.
He pointed out that the level of urbanization in developing countries is still much lower than in developed countries, but noted that high level of technology, and protection of environment did not lead to any serious social-economic problems, believing that urbanization will not hinder the economic growth.
Concerning food crisis, he noted that many issues related to food crisis are due to productivity and distribution matters. Some developed countries pay to their agriculture producers to not produce food in order to stabilize prices, but in other places of the world, even when proper lands are available, productivity is extremely low and there is not enough food to feed people living there, he added.