Population Change and Lifecourse

The Siciliano 2009 Forum on Global Aging in the 21st Century

October 28-29, University of Utah, Salt Lake City


Population aging – growth in the proportion of a population that is in the older ages - is now occurring in every region and nearly every country of the world. The growth of older populations is among the important global phenomena of the 21st century. Although aging poses both opportunities and challenges for societies and policies, they are far from uniform worldwide. A number of dynamic factors are at work impacting on opportunities and challenges, for example, the rate and timing of population aging and the differing social, health, economic and policy situations within countries.

The Siciliano 2009 Forum focuses on three overarching themes related to global aging in the 21st Century. The first is healthy aging, health care and support. Are societies getting healthier as they get older, and what are the implications of health care and supports? The second is opportunities and challenges associated with an aging workforce, including issues related to retirement and the provision of pensions. Are there ways that countries can take advantage of a growing older workforce, particularly considering the tacit knowledge experienced workers possess? What are the challenges and opportunities involved in providing security in the later years for growing numbers of older people? The third is shifting intergenerational relations. How are norms about generational obligations changing as societies become older? How do multiple familial generations co-exist? And, what is the balance among family, market and public supports for older people? These three themes are cross-cut by other dimensions that are intertwined with the dynamic process of aging, such as immigration, contrasting policy regimes and economic forces.

The 2009 Siciliano Forum maintains an international focus, with discussion of implications of international trends for the U.S. There are three keynote speakers, from different parts of the world and with different areas of focus in their own research. One expert is from the United States ( with an international global comparative research program), one is from Europe and one from South America. All three provide a comparative international focus that cross-cuts world regions. Each keynoter served as discussant in the three focal sessions that follow in the conference: on healthy aging and health care, on aging workforce, retirement and pensions, and on shifting generational relations. In each session, specialists from around the world, as well as local experts, spoke to the topic. The closing session offers a discussion of the implications of international challenges and opportunities for aging in the United States.

It is the intent of the organizers that the 2009 Siciliano Forum will spark new knowledge of international and U.S. challenges, opportunities and responses to the global issue of aging in the 21st century. The new knowledge will lead into a book on aging and policy responses.

In summary, several themes came through in the conference:


Aging workforce:

Health and aging:

Intergenerational relations:

Implications for the US:

Organizers & Attendees

Co-organized by:

  • Susan McDaniel, Prentice Institute for Global Population, University of Lethbridge, and
  • Zachary Zimmer, Institute of International & Public Affairs, University of Utah

Sponsored by:

  • University of Utah, College of Social & Behavioral Sciences;
  • University of Utah Institute of Public and International Affairs;
  • Rocco C. & Marion S. Siciliano Forum;
  • Center on Aging, University of Utah;
  • The Population Change & Life Course Cluster of Canada;
  • Intermountain Health Care;
  • Jones Waldo

Participants from the PCLC

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