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Mapping the young and the old

FRED is gathering more and more international data, including socio-demographic data. The map above was built in GeoFRED and shows the World Bank’s “age dependency ratio.” This particular measure is the ratio of older “dependents” to “workers.” A higher number indicates more potential retirees (those 65 and older) for every 100 persons considered to be in their most-productive working years (15 to 64). The concept behind this terminology is that retirees are in some ways economically “dependent” on those who still work. Of course, there are qualifications: Many younger persons are in school or other training, and many older persons work effectively after age 65.

The map shows stark differences in this ratio across the world. Look at the legend: The ratios span an almost tenfold range from the bottom to the top category. There are two main reasons. Less-developed economies have shorter expected lifespans, reducing their proportion of potential retirees. Developed economies have lower birth rates, reducing their proportion of younger workers.

How this map was created: The original post referenced an interactive map from our now discontinued GeoFRED site. The revised post provides a replacement map from FRED’s new mapping tool. To create FRED maps, go to the data series page in question and look for the green “VIEW MAP” button at the top right of the graph. See this post for instructions to edit a FRED map. Only series with a green map button can be mapped.

Suggested by Christian Zimmermann

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