The population in East Asia and Pacific is aging rapidly, raising concerns about the implications for the region’s economic future. Although the region is aging rapidly, proactive public policy can play an important role in helping it adapt to changing demographics and mitigating the downside risks of aging.

The “Live Long and Prosper” Report by World Bank Group aims to crystallize what is known about the rapidly changing and diverse demographics of East Asian and Pacific countries. It documents policy frameworks on aging and explores the implications of alternative reform options. Its purpose is not only to provide a comprehensive review of aging in the region and associated policy responses, but also to encourage policy debate by facilitating comparison of policy regimes across the region.

Aging raises many challenges and risks, which East Asian and Pacific countries are well positioned to manage—provided they make policy choices that promote appropriate behavioral change by households and employers. Initial conditions are poised to promote healthy and productive aging. The region’s countries already have populations with long working lives, high savings rates at all ages, and social security systems that thus far have largely avoided unsustainable legacy commitments. But, the region is at a crossroads. Managing rapid societal aging while sustaining economic dynamism calls for politicallychallenging policy choices that require strong leadership and social consensus.

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