Journal of Social Sciences (Dec 2021)

Understanding the social sciences

  • BĂJENESCU, Titu-Marius I.

Journal volume & issue
Vol. IV, no. 4
pp. 6 – 15


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Old age is difficult to define, so many terms overlap or clash with each other, all of which raise a number of issues: the elderly, the third age, the fourth age, pensioners, etc. It is not easy to determine the threshold for entering the period of life commonly known as old age. One thing is certain, old age has changed profoundly. From now on, it has become for everyone, albeit with profound inequalities, a normal stage of life. Social security systems combined with the considerable progress in medicine have made it possible to increase the length of retirement. Whereas in 1950 a man retiring at 65 could expect to live for about 12 years, today life expectancy at 60 is over 20 years for men and over 25 years for women. However, this simple observation has much more complex consequences in terms of the social identity, integration and social behaviour of these new population groups. Despite an ageing population, Switzerland has a total labour force of 4.706 million people. In the fourth quarter of 2019, the participation rate of the population aged 15 and over was 68.1%. This puts the country in second place in Europe behind Iceland (79.9%). Switzerland's neighbouring states have significantly lower levels (Germany: 62.6%, Austria: 61.4%; France: 55.5%, Italy: 49.9%). In particular, Switzerland has one of the highest rates of employed women in Europe. The percentage of employed women increased significantly between 2010 and 2019, from 56.9% to 60%.