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Why a declining population will be scary? Starts with ageing nation.

One of the earliest sign of a declining population is when the nation becomes an ageing nation. World Health Organisation (WHO) is making 2021 – 2030 the Decade of Healthy Ageing. When it concerns even the WHO, we get an idea how serious the situation has become. Anyway, let’s look at all these issues and why a declining population may be scary.

ageing nation
Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric on

What is Healthy Ageing?

If we are between the age of 56 to 65 this year, then the World Health Organisation (WHO) has something planned for you yeah. “The United Nations has proclaimed 2021–2030 the Decade of Healthy Ageing, with WHO leading international action to improve the lives of older people, their families and communities.” Click here for that declaration and what it meant for the ageing population. In fact WHO is really concerned for this group especially with the current COVID-19 pandemic.

What is an ageing nation?

An ageing nation is when 7% of its population are 64 years old and above. Malaysia may soon enter the ageing nation status by 2030 and this meant we are joining an ever bigger group nf ageing nations. Definition wise, ageing nation is just the beginning. Moving on, an Aged Nation would be when the nation has 15% of its population at 64 years old and above. Singapore is one such example of an aged nation. Meanwhile a Super Aged nation is when 20% of its population is above 64 years old. Japan and Germany are two such nations.

How does a country become an ageing nation?

This happens when the number of new babies is below 2.2 per couple. Imagine a couple with just one baby. When this couple both reach 65 years old, the nation would have two persons at 65 years old and just one person perhaps in 40s… Reversing this is likely to be tough because if we have a much smaller number of younger population paying taxes to support the much larger group of older and less productive population. When they are more stressed, having more babies is not usually within the topmost priority…

What does it mean for the nation?

Declining population means a declining workforce. This will start to drain more of the government’s resources and that meant that it’s going to be ever harder for the government to care for the huge population of the elderly. Just look at what happened to the pension scheme in Greece and we would understand the implication. Governments may want to do more but it’s highly unlikely that it will ever be enough.

Why is a declining population a scary thought?

This is what’s happening to the Japan population. From wikipedia: Japan’s population began to decline in 2011. In 2014, Japan’s population was estimated at 127 million; this figure is expected to shrink to 107 million (16%) by 2040 and to 97 million (24%) by 2050 should the current demographic trend continue. Full article here in wikipedia here. Briefly, it is a scary thought yeah. Imagine all those homes which were built to house a much bigger population and it’s now EMPTY….

“There are also approximately 3.5 million unoccupied residences – more than the entire housing stock of Hong Kong Full article here in South China Morning Post. Imagine that housing area we stay in with 50 percent empty homes… In Japan, there are even villages where most of the homes are now empty. This is why when the population is declining, it will soon look scary when it comes to properties or homes.

What about Malaysia then? Are we becoming an ageing nation soon?

Malaysia is projected to become an ageing nation by 2030. Not too faraway in the future actually. If you would also like to know where the top 20 nations where the population is dropping the most, please read a Business Insider article here. Japan is nowhere near the top in rankings. Will keep updating everyone yeah. If you find this interesting, please feel free to share too yeah.

Till the next update.

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Charles Tan The Founder The Writer Kopiandproperty
Charles Tan

Charles is Founder of He writes from his investment experience for the the past 20 years in investments including property, stock, unit trust and more as well as readings and conversations with many property gurus in the industry. is an independent property blog which is not affiliated to any media company, property developer or even real estate agencies.

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