In a recent OECD blog, authors Nina Trouvé and Jose Enrique Garcilazo discuss the unexpected opportunities that an ageing population can bring to rural communities. With too many rural areas at risk of falling behind as they age, policymakers must reinvent themselves to make the most of what is known as the silver economy.
Populations in rural regions are ageing and declining faster than in urban areas and it is undeniable that this brings clear challenges as there is a burden on public services and finances and leaves skills gaps and labour shortages. But instead of just focusing on the downside, point out the authors, people should look beyond and see that the silver economy also creates opportunities to boost rural communities.
The authors highlight the rise of new markets to provide the goods and services they require, as well as their entrepreneurship potential. Not only do they have more developed networks, more experience, higher skills and more financial resources, but also they can become the mentors of younger entrepreneurs.
Overall, say the authors, governments must seize new opportunities to embrace ageing and to support migrants and youth as newcomers into rural communities.
Published by Miranda García (AEIDL)