Journal of Population Ageing

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 31–49 | Cite as

Population Ageing in Asia and Its Implications for Mobility

  • Gavin W. JonesEmail author


Many aspects of population mobility within and between the countries of Asia have been discussed widely in the literature. However, the emphasis has been on mobility of the young working-age population (especially rural–urban mobility and international labour migration). Mobility of those past retirement age (say, 65+) has been little addressed. This paper will focus on a particularly neglected aspect of mobility related to the elderly: international mobility both of the elderly and of potential caregivers for the elderly. It develops a conceptual framework for analysing and forecasting international retirement migration in East and Southeast Asia, where this phenomenon is still in its infancy. It relates this to the potential for international movement of care workers. Basic to both kinds of mobility is the enormous differences in income and in cost of living between Asian countries.


Ageing in Asia Population mobility “Pensioners on the move” Mobility of care workers 


  1. Ackers, L., & Dwyer, P. (2002). Senior citizenship? Retirement, migration and welfare in the European union. Bristol: Policy Press.Google Scholar
  2. Asher, M. G. (2001). Social security systems in Southeast Asia: Are they sustainable? In D. E. Andersson, & J. P. H. Poon (Eds.), Asia pacific transitions. New York: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  3. Asher, M. G. (2005). Retirement financing in Singapore. In N. Takayama (Ed.), Pensions in Asia: Incentives, compliance and their role in retirement. Tokyo: Maruzen and Co.Google Scholar
  4. Asher, M., & Phang, S. Y. (1997). Singapore’s Central Provident Fund system: Implications for saving, public housing, and social protection. In A. E. Anderson, B. Harsman, & J. M. Quigley (Eds.), Government for the future: Unification, fragmentation and regionalism. Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  5. Asian Development Bank (2006). Workers’ remittance flows in Southeast Asia. Manila: Asian Development Bank.Google Scholar
  6. Bateman, H. (2007). South Korea—Pension reform and the development of pension systems: An evaluation of World Bank assistance. World Bank paper, report no. 39160.Google Scholar
  7. Bookman, M. Z., & Bookman, K. R. (2007). Medical tourism in developing countries. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chee H. L. (2007). Medical tourism in Malaysia: International movement of healthcare consumers and commodification of healthcare. ARI working papers no. 83, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore.Google Scholar
  9. Chua, B. H. (1997). Political legitimacy of housing: Stakeholding in Singapore. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Council for Economic Planning and Development, Executive Yuan (2005). Projections of the Population of Taiwan Area, Republic of China, 2004–2051. Taipei: Council for Economic Planning and Development, Executive Yuan.Google Scholar
  11. Deshingkar, P., & Grimm, S. (2005). Internal migration and development: A global perspective. Geneva: International Organization for Migration.Google Scholar
  12. Dwyer, P. (2000). Movements to some purpose? An exploration of international retirement migration in the European Union. Education and Ageing, 15(3), 352–377.Google Scholar
  13. Economic Planning Unit, Prime Minister’s Department, Malaysia (2006). Ninth Malaysia Plan 2006–2010. Putra Jaya: Economic Planning Unit.Google Scholar
  14. ESCAP (2005). Economic survey of Asia and the Pacific 2005. Bangkok: ESCAP.Google Scholar
  15. ESCAP (2008). Economic and Social survey of Asia and the Pacific 2008 pp. 112–117. Bangkok: ESCAP.Google Scholar
  16. Hateley, L., & Tan, G. (2003). The greying of Asia: Causes and consequences of rapid ageing in Asia. Singapore: Eastern Universities Press.Google Scholar
  17. Henderson, J. C. (2004). Healthcare tourism in Southeast Asia. Tourism Review International, 7, 111–121.R.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Horlacher, D., & MacKellar, L. (2003). Population ageing in Japan: policy lessons for Southeast Asia. Asia-Pacific Development Journal, 10(1), 97–122.Google Scholar
  19. Hu, S. C., Chen, K. M., & Chen, L. T. (2000). Demographic transition and social security in Taiwan. Population and Development Review, 26, 117–138 Supplement: Population and Economic Change in East Asia.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Huang, S., Yeoh, B. S. A., & Rahman, N. A. (2005). Asian women as transnational domestic workers. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Academic.Google Scholar
  21. Hugo, G. (2005). The new international migration in Asia: Challenges for population research. Asian Population Studies, 1(1), 93–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Iguchi, Y. (2005). Foreign workers—Prospects for changing course of policies and tasks of legal system. NIRA Policy Research, 18(5), 17–22.Google Scholar
  23. International Labour Organization (2006). Yearbook of labour statistics, vol. 1, Time Series. Geneva: ILO.Google Scholar
  24. Jones, G. W. (1993). Consequences of fertility decline for old-age security. In R. Leete, & I. Alam (Eds.), The revolution in Asian fertility: Dimensions, causes and implications. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  25. Jones, G. W. (2005). The flight from marriage in East and Southeast Asia. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 36(1), 93–119.Google Scholar
  26. Jones, G. & Shen, H. (2008). International marriage in East and Southeast Asia: Trends and research emphases Citizenship Studies, 12(1), 9–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kim, C. -S. (2004). Household and family. In D. S. Kim, & C. S. Kim (Eds.), The population of Korea. Seoul: Korea National Statistical Office.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. King, R., Warnes, A. M., & Williams, A. M. (2000). Sunset lives: British retirement migration to the Mediterranean. Oxford: Berg.Google Scholar
  29. Kinsella, K., & Velkoff, V. A. (2001). An aging world, US Census Bureau, Series P95/01–1. Washington DC: US Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  30. Knodel, J., & Ofstedal, M. B. (2002). Patterns and determinants of living arrangements. In A. I. Hermalin (Ed.), The well-being of the elderly in Asia: A four-country comparative study. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  31. Lee, T. J. (2005). South Korean retirees wanted in S-E Asia. Straits Times, 29/8/2005.Google Scholar
  32. Lee, S. K. (2007). Developing social security law: limitations and opportunities. In G. Sinigoj, et al. (Ed.), The impact of ageing: A common challenge for Europe and Asia (pp. 269–302). Vienna: Lit.Google Scholar
  33. Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (1999). Inter-ministerial committee report on the ageing population. Singapore: MCYS.Google Scholar
  34. OECD (2005). Pensions at a glance: Public policies across OECD countries. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  35. OECD (2006). Live longer, work longer. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  36. Ogawa, N. (2004). Ageing trends and policy responses in the ESCAP region, NUPRI Reprint Series No. 82. Tokyo: Nihon University Population Research Institute.Google Scholar
  37. Ogawa, N., & Matsukura, R. (2007). Ageing in Japan: The health and wealth of older persons”, in United Nations Population Division. In Proceedings of the United Nations Expert Group Meeting on Social and Economic Implications of Changing Population Age Structures, Mexico City, 31 August–2 September 2005, New York: United Nations.Google Scholar
  38. Ogawa, N., Retherford, R. D., & Matsukura, R. (2006). Demographics of the Japanese family: Entering uncharted territory. In M. Rebick, & A. Takenaka (Eds.), The changing Japanese family (pp. 19–38). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  39. O’Reilly, K. (1995). A new trend in European migration; contemporary British migration to Fuengirola, Costa del Sol. Geographical Viewpoint, 23, 25–36.Google Scholar
  40. O’Reilly, K. (2002). Britain in Europe/the British in Spain: Exploring Britain’s changing relationship to the other through the attitudes of its emigrants. Nations and Nationalism, 8(2), 179–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Phang, H. (2004). The past and future of Korean pension systems: A proposal for a coordinated development of the public-private pensions. Paper presented at the International Conference on Pensions in Asia, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo, Feb. 23–24.Google Scholar
  42. Premi, M. K. (1980). Aspects of female migration in India. Economic and Political Weekly, 15, 714–720.Google Scholar
  43. Rosenmayr, L., & Kockeis, E. (1963). Propositions for a sociological theory of ageing and the family. International Social Science Journal, 15, 410–426.Google Scholar
  44. Shan, S. (2005a). Politicians and academics call for more privatized pension scheme. The China Post, August 8.Google Scholar
  45. Shan, S. (2005b). Nearly 1 million workers will not have retirement pension. The China Post, August 23.Google Scholar
  46. Social Insurance Agency (2006). National pension. ( and Employees’ pension insurance (
  47. Srivastava, R. and Sasikumar, S. K. (2003). An overview of migration in India, its impacts and key issues. Paper presented in the Regional Conference on Migration, Development and pro-Poor Policy Choices in Asia, Dhaka, 22–24 June.Google Scholar
  48. Straits Times. Ageing Japan to get its first foreign nurses. May 17, 2008Google Scholar
  49. Takayama, N. (Ed.) (2005). Pensions in Asia: Incentives, compliance and their role in retirement. Tokyo: Maruzen Co. Ltd.Google Scholar
  50. Toyota, M. (2006). Ageing and transnational householding: Japanese retirees in Southeast Asia. International Development Planning Review, 28(4), 515–531.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Toyota, M. (2008a). Creating a transnational “retirement industry”: A political economy of ageing, migration and development in Asia. Paper presented at the American Anthropological Association’s 107th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, November 19023.Google Scholar
  52. Toyota, M. (2008b) Care chain or care circuit: reconfiguring the reproductive sphere in Myanmar. in Transnational Care Workers, State Policies and Gender Dynamics in Ageing Societies: A Comparative Study of Singapore and Japan (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Bilateral Joint Project FY2006–7, JSPS-NUS Joint Research Project), pp. 55–71.Google Scholar
  53. Toyota, M. (2007). Japanese pensioners on the move: ageing, social security and commodification of care. Presentation, Oxford Institute of Ageing.Google Scholar
  54. United Nations, Population Division (2002). World population ageing 1950–2050. New York: United Nations.Google Scholar
  55. United Nations Population Division (2006). World Population Prospects as Assessed in 2006. New York: United Nations.Google Scholar
  56. Van Ginneken, W. (2003). Extending social security: policies for developing countries, ESS Paper No. 13. Geneva: International Labour Office.Google Scholar
  57. World Bank (2006). Global economic prospects 2006: Economic implications of remittances and migration. Washington, D.C.: The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Asia Research InstituteNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

Personalised recommendations