The old-age dependency ratio (OADR) is how we currently assess the economic impact of aging populations. It divides the number of people eligible for old-age pensions by the number of working age adults. Not considered in the equation are the number of older people still employed, nor the number of unemployed younger people. According to this Globe and Mail article by Scottish sociologists John McInnes and Jeroen Spijker, calculating the Real elderly dependency ratio (REDR), taking these factors into account, would 1) challenge policy efforts to trim the welfare state and the notion that pensions are unaffordable; 2) disassociate population aging from increasing healthcare costs, focusing attention, rather on the changing relationship between morbidity and remaining life expectancy.
See also: The aging of the baby boomer generation: Catastrophe or catalyst for improvement? by Andrew Wister, contributor to the 2009 program of the MUHC-ISAI