POPULATION AGING is a fundamental transformation of human society. In a report titled "An Aging World: 2001," the US Census Bureau and the National Institutes of Aging state that the world population, aged 65 and older, is growing by an unprecedented 800 000 a month and will continue to grow during the 21st century. Between 1999 and 2000, more than 75% of the world's net gain of older people occurred in developed countries.1 By 2050 it is estimated that the life expectancy of women will be near 86 years and 80 years for men. Women are far from being the weaker vessel! Age does make a difference. The United States is 32nd in the world on the list of ranking countries with people aged 65 years and older. In 2002, Italy replaced Sweden as the world's oldest country, with 18% of Italians having celebrated at least their 65th birthday. In the mid 1990s, public pensions absorbed 7.2% of the US gross domestic product.
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