Generic placeholder image

Current Aging Science


ISSN (Print): 1874-6098
ISSN (Online): 1874-6128

Review Article

Population Ageing in Lower and Middle-income Countries: Policy Landscape of Southeast Asian Countries

Author(s): Paolo Miguel Manalang Vicerra*

Volume 16, Issue 3, 2023

Published on: 12 June, 2023

Page: [188 - 193] Pages: 6

DOI: 10.2174/1874609816666230516150701

Price: $65


Populations are ageing at varying rates of development. Countries with developed economies have experienced such changes to their population structures. Examinations have been conducted with regard to how respective societies can accommodate the said changes in their health and social systems, but this research mostly focuses on more developed regions rather than lowerincome countries. This paper discussed the experience of ageing populations in developing economies, which comprise the majority of the global older population. They display a vastly different experience from high-income countries, especially when viewed within the level of world regions. The cases presented here were from Southeast Asian countries in order to have a wide range of examples in terms of differences in country-income categories. In lower and middle-income countries, there are older adults who: continue working as their primary income source, are nonmembers of pension systems, and provide intergenerational support rather than only receiving it. The COVID-19 pandemic situation was also included here, as policies were reformed to address current needs that highlighted the challenging situation of older adults. The populations of countries that have yet to age substantially, especially those in the least-developed regions, can utilise this paper’s recommendations in order to prepare for changes in the age structures of their societies.

Keywords: Social gerontology, ageing populations, HIC, social policy, pandemic situation, middle-income countries.

Graphical Abstract
Preston SH, Stokes A. Sources of population aging in more and less developed countries. Popul Dev Rev 2012; 38(2): 221-36.
[] [PMID: 24653544]
Paterson DH, Warburton DER. Physical activity and functional limitations in older adults: A systematic review related to Canada’s Physical Activity Guidelines. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2010; 7(1): 38.
[] [PMID: 20459782]
Crespo Cuaresma J, Lutz W, Sanderson W. Is the demographic dividend an education dividend? Demography 2014; 51(1): 299-315.
[] [PMID: 24302530]
Marešová P, Mohelská H. Kuča K. Economics aspects of ageing population. Procedia Econ Finance 2015; 23: 534-8.
Oliver D, Foot C, Humphries R. Making our health and care systems fit for an ageing population. Can Geriatr J 2014; 43(5): 731.
Scherbov S, Sanderson WC, Mamolo M. Quantifying policy tradeoffs to support aging populations. Demogr Res 2014; 30: 579-608.
Salgado RM. Asia: At risk of growing old before becoming rich In:Regional Economic Outlook: Asia and Pacific. International Monetary Fund. 2017. Available from : [
United Nations Revision of World Population Prospects. 2019. Available from
Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Old-age Income Securityin ASEAN Member States - Policy Trends, Challenges and Opportunities Jakarta 2020. Available from:
Suwanrada W, Wesumperuma D. Development of the Old-age Allowance System in Thailand: Challenges and Policy Implications. In: Handayani SW, Babajanian B, Eds. Providing Social Security in Old Age: Social Pensions in Asia. Asian Development Bank 2012; pp. 153-67.
Schmitt V, Sakunphanit T, Prasitsiriphol O. Social Protection Assessment based National Dialogue: Towards a Nationally Defined Social Protection Floor in Thailand. Bangkok: International Labour Organization 2013.
University of the Philippines population institute, demographic research and development foundation Inc 2020. Available from:
Komazawa O, Suriastini NW, Wijayanti IY. Older people and COVID-19 in Indonesia. Jakarta 2021.
Pothisiri W, Vicerra PMM, Buathong T. Poverty, noncommunicable diseases, and perceived health risks among older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic in urban Thailand. Asian Soc Work Policy Rev 2022; 16(2): 126-35.
[] [PMID: 35664838]
Tran PB, Hensing G, Wingfield T, et al. Income security during public health emergencies: the COVID-19 poverty trap in Vietnam. BMJ Glob Health 2020; 5(6): e002504.
[] [PMID: 32540965]
Juergens F. Older people’s livelihoods, income security and accessto social protection during COVID-19 and beyond. In: United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) ExpertGroup Meeting on “Building Forward Better for Older Persons post COVID-19. 2021 2021. Available from :
Tatum M. Cambodia ends controversial COVID-19 restrictions. Lancet 2021; 397(10289): 2035.
[] [PMID: 34062135]
Giang LT, Kikkawa A, Nguyan CV. An ex-ante assessment on poverty and cash transfer benefits in Vietnam under the COVID-19 pandemic 2021.
Katewongsa P, Widyastari DA, Saonuam P, Haemathulin N, Wongsingha N. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the physical activity of the Thai population: Evidence from Thailand’s surveillance on physical activity 2020. J Sport Health Sci 2020; 10(3): 1-8.
García-Portilla P, de la Fuente Tomás L, Bobes-Bascarán T, Jiménez Treviño L, Zurrón Madera P, Suárez Álvarez M, et al. Are older adults also at higher psychological risk from COVID-19? Aging Ment Health 2021; 25(7): 1297-304.
Buenaventura RD, Ho JB, Lapid MI. COVID-19 and mental health of older adults in the Philippines: A perspective from a developing country. Int Psychogeriatr 2020; 32(10): 1129-33.
[] [PMID: 32349826]
Manalang Vicerra PM. Mental stress and well-being among low-income older adults during COVID-19 pandemic. Asian J Social Health Behavior 2022; 5(3): 101.
Dommaraju P, Tan J. Households in contemporary Southeast Asia. J Comp Fam Stud 2014; 45(4): 559-80.
Podhisita C, Xenos P. Living alone in South and Southeast Asia: An analysis of census data. Demogr Res 2015; 32: 1113-46.
Ladusingh L, Maharana B. How sustainable is the familial support of elderly in Asia? J Popul Ageing 2018; 11(4): 349-66.
Lee R, Mason A. Population aging, intergenerational transfers, andeconomic growth: asia in a global context. In: Aging in Asia: Findings From New and Emerging Data Initiatives. Washington. D.C.National Academies Press 2012. Available from :
Teerawichitchainan B, Prachuabmoh V, Knodel J. Productive aging in developing Southeast Asia: Comparative analyses between Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand. Soc Sci Med 2019; 229: 161-71.
[] [PMID: 30327161]
Knodel J, Pothisiri W. Intergenerational living arrangements in Myanmar and Thailand: A comparative analysis. J Cross Cult Gerontol 2015; 30(1): 1-20.
[] [PMID: 25420536]
Teerawichitchainan B, Knodel J. Economic status and old-age health in poverty-stricken Myanmar. J Aging Health 2015; 27(8): 1462-84.
[] [PMID: 25953810]
Chu DT, Vu Ngoc SM, Vu Thi H, et al. COVID-19 in Southeast Asia: Current status and perspectives. Bioengineered 2022; 13(2): 3797-809.
[] [PMID: 35081861]
United Nations Population Fund Thailand Elderly people during the COVID-19 outbreak situation. 2020. Available from :
Pradana M, Rubiyanti N. S W, Hasbi I, Utami DG. Indonesia’s fight against COVID-19: the roles of local government units and community organisations. Local Environ 2020; 25(9): 741-3.
Vos T, Barber RM, Bell B, et al. Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 301 acute and chronic diseases and injuries in 188 countries, 1990–2013: A systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013. Lancet 2015; 386(9995): 743-800.
[] [PMID: 26063472]
Lindelow M, Hawkins L, Osornprasop S. Government Spending and Central-Local Relations in Thailand's Health Sector Washington, DC: Health, Nutrition and Population (HNP) 2014; 1-4
Dryden R, Williams B, McCowan C, Themessl-Huber M. What do we know about who does and does not attend general health checks? Findings from a narrative scoping review. BMC Public Health 2012; 12(1): 723.
[] [PMID: 22938046]
Cook S, Pincus J. Poverty, inequality and social protection in Southeast Asia: An introduction. J Southeast Asian Econ 2014; 31(1): 1-17.
Yoon H, Jang Y, Vaughan PW, Garcia M. Older Adults’ internet use for health information: Digital divide by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status. J Appl Gerontol 2020; 39(1): 105-10.
[] [PMID: 29661052]
Rajah R, Hassali MAA, Murugiah MK. A systematic review of the prevalence of limited health literacy in Southeast Asian countries. Public Health 2019; 167: 8-15.
[] [PMID: 30544041]
ThaiHealth Health promotion plan for vulnerable populations 2021. Available from :
Yiengprugsawan V, Carmichael GA, Lim LLY, Seubsman S, Sleigh AC. Has universal health insurance reduced socioeconomic inequalities in urban and rural health service use in Thailand? Health Place 2010; 16(5): 1030-7.
[] [PMID: 20634120]
Quashie NT, Pothisiri W. Rural-urban gaps in health care utilization among older Thais: The role of family support. Arch Gerontol Geriatr 2019; 81: 201-8.
[] [PMID: 30609403]
Vicerra PMM. Knowledge-behaviour gap on COVID-19 among older people in rural Thailand. Gerontol Geriatr Med 2021; 26(7): 2333721-421991-207.
[ ] [PMID: 33718521 ]
Rajatanavin N, Tuangratananon T, Suphanchaimat R, Tangcharoensathien V. Responding to the COVID-19 second wave in Thailand by diversifying and adapting lessons from the first wave. BMJ Glob Heal 2021; 6(7): e006178.
Vicerra PMM. Present and prospective health status of older adults in the Philippines: The role of education. Asian Soc Work Policy Rev 2023; 17(2): 150-8.
Vicerra PMM, Pothisiri W. Projecting health needs of late life adults in Thailand: Cognition-adjusted dependency and role of Education. J Public Heal Dev 2020; 18(2): 37-57.
Marois G, Gietel-Basten S, Lutz W. China’s low fertility may not hinder future prosperity. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2021; 118(40): e2108900118.
[] [PMID: 34580226]

Rights & Permissions Print Cite
© 2024 Bentham Science Publishers | Privacy Policy