The greying of a rainbow nation: Policy responses to the implications of population ageing in South Africa

Wade Goodrick, André Pelser


The South African population is set to experience significant ageing in the decades to come; reaching the stage of having a formally ‘aged’ or ‘old’ population by 2025. This looming yet profound demographic change is already impacting in certain sectors and will place numerous pressures on many socio-economic and developmental fronts, requiring the reconfiguration of the country’s development agenda, aims, programmes and policy. Drawing on both quantitative and qualitative data, this paper explores the demographic nature and socio-economic challenges of the ageing transition in South Africa and suggests some guidelines to improve policy responses targeting the implications of ageing. The paper concludes that South Africa will face a plethora of implications and challenges associated with population ageing, and recommends that further impetus be focused on enhancing programmes that facilitate the awareness of ageing implications as well as the mainstreaming of ageing concerns in public policy. Furthermore, more progressive research on the potential implications of ageing in a South African context should be initiated. 


Ageing; Ageing transition; Ageing policy; Challenges and implications

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ISSN 2308-7854 (online); ISSN 0850-5780 (print)

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