The demographic challenges facing Bermuda have been documented by the Department of Statistics through such publications as Bermuda Population Projections 2000 – 2030; Changing Face of Bermuda Seniors (2005) and Labour Market Indicators (2010).
However, the raw data for these reports primarily came from periods before the recent decline in economic activity took hold in Bermuda.
This has several important implications for the community, which are reviewed below:
The number of dependent seniors is rising.
The Population Projections expected the proportion of seniors to double from 11 per cent (2000) to 22 per cent (2030).
The old age dependency ratio was expected to rise from 16 per cent (2000) to 36 per cent (2030).
For the Bermudian population this ratio was expected to rise from 19 per cent (2000) to 45 per cent (2030).
This means that almost half of the adult population will be dependent upon the other half of the working age population.
The number of people resident in Bermuda on work permits is declining.
This process is likely to continue for some time as Bermudians undertake retraining/training for different jobs than their prior experience.
The key demographic of the departing workers is that they were largely concentrated in the 25 to 49 age group.
Thus an important part of the ‘support’ group for seniors has diminished.
The dependency ratio is climbing faster than predicted because the resident population is shrinking and it is the younger, working age people who are leaving the country.
The Bermudian labour force is ageing faster than expected.
The Labour Market Indicators show that in September 2009 the median age of the workforce was 44.7.
However, for Bermudians it was 46.8 and for non-Bermudians it was 39.2.
Thus the Bermudian workforce is ageing as the younger group (non-Bermudians) shrinks both in absolute and relative terms.
These facts are important drivers to the relative costs of sustaining our seniors.
Without question, the potential impact of Bermuda’s ageing population will have serious implications on our future economy.
Policy-makers will need to factor considerations such as these into their planning calculations as Bermuda navigates its way through the global phenomena of an ageing population.