Op-Ed

Mid-sized cities facing demographic aging

A pronounced demographic aging is now affecting many developed countries, particularly in Asia and Europe (China, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Portugal…). With 18.8% of the population over the age of 65 as of January 1, 2016, France ranks 14th among the oldest European populations. This demographic aging is expected to continue: in 2060, the average age of the French population is expected to be 45 years, compared to 41.2 years in 2016, and there could be as many as 200,000 centenarians in the country.

But the effects of aging will not be felt equally across the country: some areas should experience a particularly pronounced form of the phenomenon. Where do mid-sized cities fit into this picture? Does the status of mid-sized city necessarily lead to a particular situation in terms of aging? Faced with this phenomenon, not all mid-sized cities are equal: some are faced with the departure of their youngest inhabitants, while others are particularly attractive to retired households and are therefore seeing their average age increase.

In any case, adapting to demographic aging raises complex issues for the cities concerned, from adapting housing, public spaces and mobility to the needs of seniors to the challenge of connectivity and the development of 5G, which opens the way to the development of teleconsultations, particularly well-suited to the constraints of the elderly. Faced with what will be the main demographic challenge in France in the decades to come, public authorities must take responsibility for building and developing cities for these people and their specific needs. This is what cities with an elderly population, such as Singapore or certain Japanese cities, have been doing for a long time.

The latest note published by La Fabrique de la Cité examines the issues and challenges posed to mid-sized cities by their aging populations (in French)

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La Fabrique de la Cité

La Fabrique de la Cité is a think tank dedicated to urban foresight, created by the VINCI group, its sponsor, in 2010. La Fabrique de la Cité acts as a forum where urban stakeholders, whether French or international, collaborate to bring forth new ways of building and rebuilding cities.

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