Nigerian Economic Society
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Abstract: With an estimated population of 186.5 million in 2016 and annual population growth rate in excess of 2.5 per cent, Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country, and the seventh most populous country in the world. The current population pyramid for the country is broad based, signifying its youthfulness, with 43 per cent of the population aged 0-14. Only 4.7 percent of the population is aged 60 and above, the segment of the population regarded as the elderly or aged. However, the proportion of the aged will continue to increase in future, reaching about 17 per cent in 2100. This is a function of the changing population dynamics as fertility continues its downward, even if slow, trend, while life expectancy tends upwardly. This will also be accompanied by an increase in the median age of the population from the present 17.9 years to 32.4 years in 2100. This shift in the structure of the population has far reaching implications for national policies and underscores the necessity for mainstreaming ageing in the national development and programmatic agenda. This paper discusses the impending demographic shift of Nigeria’s population, the conditions of the elderly, as well as the strategies that should be put in place towards the improvement of their well-being. Crucial policy issues related to the welfare of the elderly are discussed. As the family remains the main source of support for the majority of the elderly in Nigeria, how such support systems are sustained vis-à-vis changing social structures is of immense importance for the welfare of Nigeria’s elderly.

JEL classification: J14, J18

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