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Point and Counterpoint: Australia's Aging Population

Point: Australia's Aging Population Should Concern Young Australians

Because young Australians, age 18-35, are less prevalent than their older fellow citizens, they are at a disadvantage. If current trends continue, the numbers of the aging could vastly overtake younger Australians in the foreseeable future. The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that from 2007-2056, the numbers of Australians over 65 could increase by 13-25 %. The median age in Australia was 36.8 in 2007 and this number could increase to 45.2 by 2056 if fertility rates continue to stagnate. Due to such a substantial number of older Australians, the political system could be tilted to programs and initiatives that will favour them and be disadvantageous to younger Australians. While pension programs and health care initiatives will be protected, problems that concern younger Australians, such as unemployment, education, and the environment could go ignored. Lastly, with more retired Australians, the tax burden of paying for these older Australians' health care costs will fall squarely on the shoulders of the much fewer younger Australians.

Counter Point: Australia's Aging Population is Not a Threat to Younger Australians

An aging population does not necessarily mean a sicker population. If younger Australians are concerned about the tax burden that will be given to them to care for an older, sicker population, they couldn't be more wrong. A quarter of all health-related expenses that people have throughout their lives are spent during the last year of their life. However, the baby boomer generation in Australia and elsewhere in the developed world is among the healthiest in comparison to preceding generations. They are more health conscious and accrue less health care costs than their parents and grandparents. Moreover, the baby boomer generation is also wealthier than the generations before them, making it less likely that they will seek additional government assistance. Therefore, an older population does not necessarily indicate higher expenses and taxes on younger Australians.

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