Yüceşahin, Mustafa Murat (1); Sirkeci, İbrahim (2)
1: Department of Geography, Faculty of Letters, Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey; 2: Regent’s Centre for Transnational Studies, Faculty of Business and Management, Regent’s University London, United Kingdom
Population ageing is increasingly a global phenomenon and yet there is a great variation among countries and regions. While this demographic shift alarmed policy makers and researchers alike due to the likely threat for future social and economic well-being of societies, the ongoing trend characterised by improvements in educational attainment levels among the elderly populations is also of great importance for the potential future human capital imbalance across societies. The paper focuses on restructuring shifts in global aging patterns and related country-specific changes through a cross-sectional analysis in the years 1980, 1990, 2000, and 2010. Firstly, factor analyses were carried out to both identify the underlying dimensions that shape and reshape global aging patterns and analyse the structural differences at the country level. Factor loadings were used to map the structural changes of global aging patterns by ten-year intervals. Secondly, Multidimensional Scaling Analysis was applied to reveal changes in the position of countries by selected variables between 1980 and 2010. In addition to conventional aging indicators taken from the United Nations, we used IIASA-VID updated country-specific data on the proportions of educational attainment of the elderly population. It is found that while overall, educational attainment levels among the elderly have increased across the world, the pace of development was significantly different between the countries ranked at the bottom of the Human Development Index and others. As a result, the gap in terms of human capital between the less developed countries and others has grown.