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 9: Final Thoughts

Peter Karl Kresl and Daniele Ietri


The thesis of this book, that there are positive consequences for urban economies of an aging population, is clearly contrarian. The discussion about seniors and their impact on society is dominated by assertions that all levels of government will be negatively affected by the fiscal demands that will be placed on them, and on younger working aged taxpayers, as the share of 60 and older individuals in the population increases. As we have seen, researchers have questioned some of these assertions; one example is the asserted inevitability of an increase in health costs as a population ages. Some research has found there to be no such correlation (see Chapter 3). But our focus is not on the national or sub-national levels of government but on that of the city or the urban region. In this final chapter we would like to offer some comments on this issue and on what municipal policy makers can do to gain the maximum benefit from it. The picture that demographic projections of the future give to us indicates the urgency of action. The increasing share of seniors in the population of the industrialized countries, ratio of seniors to working age or employed individuals, and intergenerational fiscal transfers that will be required will cause great stress and conflict as this reallocation of revenues is effected. Seniors will demand, with some justification, that their expectations about their years of retirement and decline be met, having contributed to those of previous generations when they were working and...

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