Aging Center director speaks at international demography conference in Poland

An International Conference on Demography was held earlier this year in Opole, Poland, which is one of the so-called demographic regions of the European Union. With high emigration and low birth rates, Opole faces an uncertain future as several other areas in Poland. What impact does demographic change have on society and the labor force? And how can demographic change be tackled? These questions were of great interest to the guests present from business, politics and science.

As Vice President of the National Academy of Sciences in Germany and co-author of the Joint Academy Statement on Mastering Demographic Change in Europe, Ursula Staudinger, director of the Columbia Aging Center, was invited by MEP Danuta Jazłowiecka who initiated the conference. In her speech, Staudinger shared important scientific findings that – if the appropriate measures are taken – allow for a more positive outlook into the future. She pointed out that the cognitive abilities of older people today are much better than in the past. Moreover, if employers provide their employees with changing work tasks during their working lives regardless of their age, their productivity will be maintained and even grow. Thus, Staudinger emphasized the necessity for continuous training and education as well as the importance to increase the share of persons aged 50+ in the labor markets in order to maintain the country’s productivity.