Old news

Longer life expectancy and decreased birth rates worry LatAm economists.

In Latin America, 8% of the population is 65 years or older, a figure which is expected to increase to 17.5%, close to EU levels, and exceed 30% by the end of the century. Latin America’s demographic transition is the result of a sustained increase in life expectancy and a drop in fertility.

A senior health adviser to the Chilean government told us, “According to our data, even the poorest countries in Latin America are seeing a growing number of citizens reaching retirement age, putting an increasing burden on state budgets. Therefore, countries with lower economic growth will have significant problems in the future.”

“According to our data, even the poorest countries in Latin America are seeing a growing number of citizens reaching retirement age.”

Senior health adviser to the Chilean government

Guatemala and Bolivia have the highest fertility rates in Latin America, while Costa Rica and Chile have the largest life expectancy standards. With younger populations, Latin American governments are spending little on pensions, an average of 4% of GDP, compared to other regions in the world, like the 9% of GDP in the EU.

“In Argentina, as with other countries in the region, the general trend is that the birth rate is decreasing as life expectancy continues to rise,” outlined a demographic sociologist, “this is a particular problem for Argentina with its fiscal deficit, every year that goes by, it becomes increasingly more difficult to finance the retirement system.”

“This is a particular problem for Argentina with its fiscal deficit, every year that goes by, it becomes increasingly more difficult to finance the retirement system.”

Demographic sociologist, Argentina

The challenges posed by this demographic transition vary from fiscal pressure on pension systems, higher need for investment in healthcare services and changes in the labour market. To face these challenges, Latin American countries need to get rich first. Generating incentives to extend the effective retirement age, promoting healthy habits, strengthening financial systems and strong educational systems are key to containing long-term demographic pressures. 

Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has had some impact on this, the sociologist explained, “In principle, some studies already indicate that life expectancy fell in 2020 and 2021, to a level lower than it was a decade ago, but we need to wait for the proper analysis to be sure. In any case, once the pandemic passes and everything reverts to usual, I believe life expectancy will track back to normal levels.”

The economic impact of an ageing population can be felt in many ways, according to the Argentine sociologist, “First, you will see a drop in productivity, which in Argentina is already low. In addition, if measures are not taken soon regarding the retirement age, we will continue to have a decrease in the working-age population compared to those who are retired. Unfortunately, we can see that measures are taken in the opposite direction: moratoriums so that housewives can retire and temporary lowering of retirement age due to the difficulty in finding work etc. It is going to be very difficult to get out of this circle.”

Important Notice
While the information in this article has been prepared in good faith, no representation, warranty, assurance or undertaking (express or implied) is or will be made, and no responsibility or liability is or will be accepted by Deheza Limited or by its officers, employees or agents in relation to the adequacy, accuracy, completeness or reasonableness of this article, or of any other information (whether written or oral), notice or document supplied or otherwise made available in connection with this article. All and any such responsibility and liability is expressly disclaimed.
This article has been delivered to interested parties for information only. Deheza Limited gives no undertaking to provide the recipient with access to any additional information or to update this article or any additional information, or to correct any inaccuracies in it which may become apparent.

Most recent in Health

Revolutionising pharmaceutical services 

Challenges and opportunities in the Americas. 

LatAm’s fight for a healthier tomorrow

The region's efforts to defeat Hepatitis.

Diabetes spikes

A public health crisis is emerging as diabetes runs rampant across Latin America.

Sleep on it

A recent study claims 3 in 4 Argentinians suffer from some form of sleep disturbance.

Health collapse

Chile’s private health insurance companies face bankruptcy at the hands of government legislation.

Cholera outbreak

PAHO delivers over a million cholera vaccine doses to Haiti as outbreak gathers pace.

Birth dearth

Latin America’s fertility rate continues to fall but what does this mean for the region?

Digital remedies

Digital pharmacies growing rapidly after pandemic induced change in consumer behaviour.

Health costs

Drug prices across Latin America continue to rise, but what can be done about it?

Detecting dyslexia

Dyslexia affects nearly 10% of the population but detection remains a challenge across Latin America.