Age structure

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[edit] Introduction

The age structure is the age distribution of a population. Visually, it is usually represented in an “age pyramid”. Correspondingly, the age structure of a company gives information about the age composition of a company’s workforce.

[edit] Facts


The term “age pyramid” dates back to the earliest graphic representations of age structure. The larger number of younger people and the comparatively smaller number of older people produced a pyramid-shaped graph. The age structure of most industrialised countries has changed significantly over recent decades as a result of lower death rates, increased life expectancy and a fall in birth rates. Between 1960 and 2005, the proportion of under-20s in the population fell from 28.4 to 20.0%. Over the same period, the proportion of those aged 60 and above rose from 17.4 to 24.9%.

Various future age structure scenarios can be calculated by applying different assumptions about birth rates, life expectancy and net migration. The Federal Statistical Office does this in its “coordinated population projection”.

Changes in the age structure of a population also affect companies, because the age structure of the workforce also changes. A change in age structure with particularly drastic effects for the German economy is expected to take place between 2017 and 2024. During this period, workers between the ages of 30 and 49 and 50 and 64 will each make up 40% of the total labour force. In any case, the labour force of the future will comprise a substantial proportion of over-50s.

Companies can begin to prepare for these changes today by carrying out an age structure analysis.

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