Stream 8: Social inequalities in ageing

Carin Lennartsson and Johan Fritzell

The demographic process of population ageing represents a major societal change that will strongly influence almost all countries in the twenty-first century. The discussion on ageing societies mainly focus on the conditions of older adults, but population ageing give rise to important macro- and micro challenges for individuals in all ages, families and society at large. On the micro-level of individuals, it leads to a greater concern for the determinants of active, healthy ageing processes, and to questions on the availability of good quality care and rehabilitation in terms of need. On the macro-level questions about the possibility to provide and finance high quality health and old-age care, as well as adequate pensions become crucial. Social reforms are often deemed necessary. However, the policy discussions have to a lesser degree focused on inequality dimensions of reforms.

Polices that provide financial support and health care and social services are key features of the welfare state that may have a great impact on inequalities. Lately, welfare states have witnesses a number of reforms within the service sector, the objectives behind these have varied over time and across countries. It is likely that these policy reforms have an impact not only on the characteristics of the system as such but also on social inequalities within the ageing population.

The stream aims to invite empirical papers that will generate new knowledge about key challenges of population ageing, and how it relates to institutional changes of the welfare state with a particular focus on inequality. How the welfare states arrange cash and care provision for older people have great impact on socioeconomic inequalities as well as inequalities between migrants and native population and between women and men.

Both country specific contributions and papers with a more comparative focus are welcome. We hope that paper presented in this stream increase the understanding and evaluate consequences of policy changes on social inequalities within the dramatically growing population of older persons.