The International Association for Official Statistics (IAOS) biennial conference this month is on “The Demography of Ageing and Official Statistics”. The conference will include discussion of the extent and characteristics of population ageing and its impact on all aspects of social and economic policy across the world, and will be held in Belfast, Northern Ireland on 17-19 August 2011. 

The choice of topic attests to the importance of the demographic issues facing the world and those to be discussed give an interesting overview of the most prominent areas of concern.  Notable speakers include Dr Richard Suzman (US National Institute on Aging), Dr Wan He (US Census Bureau), Professor David Coleman (Oxford University), and Dr George Leeson (Oxford Institute of Ageing, University of Oxford). Key global issues to be discussed include the following:

– Dr. Bercovich, President of the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics Adviser for the 2010 Population Census in Brazil, will discuss the demography of the elderly population in Brazil. Brazil has a very young age structure but has experienced a sharp decline in the fertility rate and thus a rapid increase of the elderly population. The paper aims to both analyse past and future trends of the elderly in the context of demographic discontinuities and to consider the political consequences of ageing in Brazil. 

– Professor Keilman, a professor of demography at the University of Oslo, will discuss official statistics indicators and variables with particular reference to the following (a) age should not only measure time since birth, but also take into account expected time to death. Secondly as we live longer we do not get older at the same speed. How can we deal with that? (b) Official Statistics of elderly institutions are notoriously weak. But with ageing populations they are becoming increasingly important.

– Professor James Banks, Deputy research director at The Institute for Fiscal Studies & a professor of economics at the University of Manchester, will consider Ageing and Pension reform and various models for the associated costs and implications of this.

– Professor David Canning, a professor of Economics and International Health at Harvard University, will discuss demographic change and the effect of changes in age structure on aggregate economic activity and economic behaviour, possibly linking in age-discrimination in the labour market.

– Professor Charles Normand of Trinity College, Dublin, will discuss population ageing and the costs of delivering healthcare, including resource allocation formulae and the impact of ageing on such formulae.

Perhaps of most interest to governments around the world in this time of recession will be Professor Canning’s consideration of the effect of the developed world’s low fertility rate and changing age structure on our economies.  It will be an interesting conference to go to, or to keep an ear out for what comes out of it.

After practising law for the last four years, most recently as a junior barrister, Shannon Buckley has decided to complete the graduate diploma in secondary education this year to become...