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OECD Economic Surveys: Germany 2016 Raising well-being in Germany`s ageing society

27.02.2016 - von OECD

Raising well-being in Germanys ageing society

Population ageing is setting in earlier in Germany than in most other OECD economies and will be marked. It could lead to a substantial decline in employment, weighing on GDP per capita, and will raise demand for health-related public services. Germany has already implemented far-reaching reforms to mitigate the implications of ageing for per capita income, well-being and the sustainability of public finances. Nonetheless, continued efforts are needed to help older workers to improve their work-life balance and adjust their working hours to their ability and desire to work. Moreover, stressful working conditions and unhealthy lifestyles contribute to poor self-reported health and reduce the ability and willingness to work at higher age. There is scope to promote life-long learning. As the generosity of the public pension system will diminish, the contribution of private pensions to ensure pension adequacy needs to be strengthened.

Well-being outcomes are good in international comparison but weaken with age

Well-being outcomes for Germany are above the OECD average and particularly strong for income, jobs, work-life balance and education (OECD, 2014n; OECD, 2011b). However, well-being outcomes are lower for individuals at higher age, and evolve less favourably with age than in other OECD countries. For instance, subjective health outcomes decrease with age (OECD, 2014n; Gerstorf, 2010). There is also some evidence that subjective well-being decreases with age, though it temporarily rises around pensionable age (Enste and Ewers, 2014; Gwozdz and Sousa Poza, 2009; Wetzel, Huxhold and Tesch-Römer, 2015).

Inequalities in well-being outcomes are fairly high in Germany, as shown in the 2014 OECD Economic Survey for Germany (OECD, 2014a); and these inequalities tend to increase with age. Education outcomes, self-perceived health and life expectancy strongly depend on socio-economic background, more so than in many other advanced economies (OECD Economic Survey for Germany 2014; Jagger et al., 2011; European Commission, 2013; Kroll and Lampert, 2014; Unger and Schulze, 2013; Kroh et al., 2012). These gaps in well-being outcomes between individuals with different socio-economic background tend to widen with age. For instance, differences in health outcomes and subjective life satisfaction across skill levels increase with age (Schöllgen et al.; 2010; Wetzel, Huxhold and Tesch-Römer, 2015). The relevance of wellbeing of the elderly will increase with population ageing. ...
Population ageing is setting in more rapidly in Germany than in most other OECD economies

According to OECD projections, the total population will decline by 14.9 million or 18% until 2060 if current trends persist. The working age population (16-75) is projected to contract by 28% as the total dependency ratio is rising fast (Figure 2.1). These projections assume net immigration to reach 500 000 in 2015, considerably less than the actual net inflow, which could reach 1 million. In the baseline scenario, the projections also assume that net immigration falls to 200 000, somewhat above the historic average, by 2021. A sustained larger inflow would delay rather than offset population ageing (see below). Strong integration policies are required for the large inflow of humanitarian immigration to boost labour supply and GDP and minimise risks of poverty and social exclusion from rising, as discussed further below. ...

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Quelle: OECD