The Aging Population and the Competitiveness of Cities
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The Aging Population and the Competitiveness of Cities

Benefits to the Urban Economy

Peter Karl Kresl and Daniele Ietri

While much of the current literature on the economic consequences of an aging population focuses on the negative aspects, this enlightening book argues that seniors can bring significant benefits – such as vitality and competitiveness – to an urban economy.
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Chapter 7: An Examination of Italian Urban Economies

Peter Karl Kresl and Daniele Ietri


As we noted in our discussion of the OECD’s data in the introductory chapters, in Italy the current and projected senior share of the population is one of the highest among developed countries. This is the effect of the combined trends of low fertility and the increased average life expectancy. For the former, in Italy the share of population aged 0–14 is expected to decrease from 14.1 percent in 2007 to 12.9 percent in 2050; as to the latter, the life expectancy at birth, currently slightly above 78.8 for men and 84.1 for women, is expected to reach 89.5 for women and 84.5 for men in 2050 – in 1920, life expectancy at birth was 54. In 2009 the share of population aged 65+ is 20.11 with a significant increase over earlier decades: the 1980 population aged 65+ was 13.1 percent and slightly higher in 1990, 14.7 percent – after the mid 1990s the Italian population started the fast aging trend we can observe nowadays. It is for this reason that we are including a separate chapter on Italian cities. The demographic situation here is certainly a forecast of what other cities in the EU will, to some degree, experience in the coming decades. The fiscal consequences for the national government and the costs and benefits for the cities can offer a window into the future for these other cities and can demonstrate the urgency of adopting policies today that will generate a consequence that will be closer to the positive...

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