Over 28 per cent of Bruneians 60 and above by 2050: UN

Azlan Othman

The United Nations (UN) has estimated that 28.7 per cent of Bruneians will be aged 60 or above in 2050, compared to eight per cent in 2017.

According to the 2019 UN’s World Population Prospects, one in 11 persons are aged 65 or older, and this ratio is projected to increase to one in five by 2050.

Highlighting the increase of an ageing population, globally, the population group of those aged 65 and over is growing faster than all other age groups, where, for the first time in history, this age group outnumbered children below five years last year.

In 20 years, it is estimated that all ASEAN member countries will become ageing societies, where more than seven per cent of the population will be 65 years or older; and by 2050, the proportion of people over the age of 65 in ASEAN is expected to triple.

At the same time, the World Institute for Asian Studies has also shown that women constitute a majority of the population aged 60 or older in the Asia-Pacific, due to their higher life expectancy.

Meanwhile the Centre for Ageing Research and Education (CARE) at Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore said that the proportion of individuals aged 60 and above in Singapore and South Korea will exceed that of Japan’s by 2065.

Thailand and China will be just behind these countries, with Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam and Malaysia not too far behind.

The same demographic in Lao PDR, Myanmar, Indonesia and Cambodia is also projected to exceed Japan’s by 20 per cent by 2065.

According to statistics from the Department of Economic Planning and Statistics (JPES), the population of people aged 65 and over in 2018 was 20,200 compared to 21,100 in 2017, while those aged between 15 to 64 were 330,600 compared to 317,100 in 2017.

The Government of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam prioritises national social issues of an ageing population through a whole-of-nation approach.

This is outlined in Brunei Vision 2035, which includes a social security strategy that ensures that all citizens are properly cared for; and the National Action Plan on the Elderly that aims to develop an active and independent ageing population, with the family institution taking a priority role.

In Brunei Darussalam, the family institution underpins its social fabric and therefore, it is crucial for the family institution to be strengthened and preserved as part of a social protection policy, while learning new solutions to provide effective platforms for Brunei’s ageing population to lead active, healthy and contributing lifestyles.