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Demographic Change

The proportion of the German population aged 65 or older will increase from the current level of 21% to 29% by 2030.

One of the causes of this phenomenon, referred to as population ageing, is the sustained increase in life expectancy and, in particular, given particularities in the age structure.

As we get older, there is an increase in the individual risk of illness and the risk of multimorbidity, which means having multiple chronic illnesses at the same time.

In an ageing population, age-related chronic illnesses will occur more and more frequently. As a consequence of this, the disease spectrum will change, and this will need to be managed by the health system. 

An additional characteristic of demographic change is the decrease in population in various regions of Germany. This is caused primarily by migration from these regions.

Researching the Impact of Demographic Change

The scientists at Robert Koch Institute are researching the impact of demographic change. The research focuses on analyses of how the spectrum of diseases and causes of death are changing.

Building on these results, predictions on future trends are made. On the one hand, the frequency and rate of new cases (prevalence and incidence) of different disease patterns are calculated, e.g. cancer and stroke. On the other hand, predictions are made on how many hospital treatments will be utilised for different groups of diseases. 

In addition to this, the consequences of population decline on healthcare for different population groups are being examined.


Operationalizing multimorbidity and autonomy for health services research in aging populations - the OMAHA study

Holzhausen M, Fuchs J, Busch M et al (2011) BMC Health Services Research, 11:47