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Changes in children's age and generation mosaics: Challenges to research and policy

Childhood: Changing Contexts

ISBN: 978-0-7623-1419-5, eISBN: 978-1-84950-533-8

Publication date: 14 April 2008


For much of history, children have constituted nearly half of human populations. The twentieth century marked a tidal turn in population composition for many societies. By the beginning of the current century, a number of societies had only 15% children under age 15 and nearly twice as high a proportion of individuals aged 60 and over (UN, 2007). Japan tops the statistics, having 28% old people and 14% children. With Japan as the only exception, the twenty “oldest” populations, with median ages of 39–42, are all in Europe. In sharp contrast, some countries in Asia and Africa have less than 5% of their populations aged 60 and over. Twenty-seven of these countries have median ages under 18. The lowest figure is found in Uganda, where the median is 14.8. In 2007, the proportion of children in the overall population of Africa is 41%, while individuals aged 60 and over constitute 5.3% (UN, 2007).


Hagestad, G.O. (2008), "Changes in children's age and generation mosaics: Challenges to research and policy", Leira, A. and Saraceno, C. (Ed.) Childhood: Changing Contexts (Comparative Social Research, Vol. 25), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 113-132.



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