The population of Aruba is ageing. And at a rapid pace.

While in the US, it took a little more than 60 years for the percentage of the population aged 65 years and over to rise from 7 percent to 14 percent, in Aruba this process will take less than 30 years.

In 1960, 3.1 percent of the population of Aruba was 65 years or older. In 2010 this percentage more than tripled to 10.4 percent. In 2030, 19.9 percent of the population of Aruba is expected to be 65 years or older. An even larger growth is seen in the oldest old, thus the population 80 years and over. While in 1960, only a half percent of the population was 80 years and over, by 2030 we will see the oldest old increase tenfold. In 2030, 5.1 percent of the population of Aruba is projected to be 80 years and older.

What caused these rapid changes in the age composition of the population of Aruba?

In the 1950’s women in their reproductive ages gave birth to an average of 5 children. This number has dropped substantially over the course of the years. In 2010, women give birth to an average of 2.07 children.

In addition, people on Aruba are living longer than ever before. In 2010, life expectancy has soared to an average of 76.9 years, almost 7 years higher than in 1972.

As populations grow older, social security systems, pension schemes, and public health systems are subjected to added pressures. An important indicator of this added pressure is the old-age dependency ratio. It depicts the number of persons between 20 and 64 years of age who are capable of providing economic support to the number of older people that may be materially dependent on the support of others. In 1960, there were on average 15 persons of working age for every older person. In 2010, there were 6, and in 2030 there will be only 3 persons of working age who are capable of supporting a person 65 years and older.