(Model essay) Academic essay question as seen on 10 March 2012 in Sydney, Australia

It is expected that in the future old people are going to outnumber young people in many countries. Do you feel this is a positive or negative development?

In many parts of the world, the ratio of older people to younger people is swelling. Although an ageing population does pose a few benefits, I argue that this trend is more negative than positive in nature. This will be shown by looking at how a large elderly populace strains a society’s public health resources and deters a country’s younger members from having children of their own.

For one, the aged require extra attention from a country’s public health services, and this can put pressure on an economy. For example, ageing Canadians increasingly depend on free public health care that is funded by taxpayers. As the number of elderly Canadians increases, financing their medical needs is expected to put immense stress on the Canadian economy. Thus, this example makes it clear that growing numbers of old people in a society is a negative phenomenon.

In addition to this, younger people are often deterred from having children of their own when they are faced with the burden of caring for an elderly family member. In Japan, for example, fertility rates stagnated during the twentieth century in part due to the load many families had to bear in looking after older relatives. This example illustrates the link that exists between larger numbers of elderly people and reduced birthrates. As lower birthrates are typically unhealthy for a country, it is obvious that the trend of ageing populations is not a positive one.

As the above evidence shows, there are many drawbacks to nations with heavy weightings of old people. In the future, society and government can be expected to change to deal with this trend.

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