Declining fertility and rising life expectancy combined with migration are changing the demographic landscape of the MENA. Earlier high fertility however will ensure a growing population in the next 20-30 years. Family structure is also changing, it is becoming smaller and of nuclear type. The region has to manage a young age structure and a gradual ageing of population but with a potentially weaker traditional inter-generational support based on family, and varying and heterogeneous resource base and socio-economic structure of different countries. To maintain and improve inter-generational support within family and society in the MENA countries with large populations (such as Iran and Egypt) the most important challenges are poverty and vulnerability, unemployment, and development of long term plans for an ageing population. These are inter-connected objectives since reducing poverty and increasing current employment could provide individual and families with some resources to save and accumulate for old age. States in the region should put redistributive social polices in the areas of health, education and housing at the heart of a strategy of not only supporting family budget and resources to assist them in their inter-generational care, but also set up care and pension schemes for societal inter-generational support.

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Population Horizons
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Meskoub, M. (2017). Population ageing and inter-generational relation in the MENA: what role for social policy?. Population Horizons, 14(2). doi:10.1515/pophzn-2017-0005