Demographic change, scientific and technological progress and changing lifestyles have a profound effect on society. People live longer and stay healthier at an advanced age when at the same time birth rate is stagnating at a low level. Scientific expertise helps to understand and find solutions to the social challenges presented by demographic change in Germany.
The research of demographic changes involves questions that affect society as a whole, as well as each individual. Many people find themselves unable to reconcile their chosen lifestyle or career with the desire to have children. This leads to the decision to have children later in life, which in turn has medical and biological consequences. When individual desires and social reality do not match up, it becomes even more important to investigate the effects these new natural, social and cultural insights into demographic change might have on individuals and society.
Alongside fertility and aging, many other social issues relating to demographic change are waiting to be answered. They affect all age groups: How can a society create a favorable environment for children? How exactly does the process of socialization take place for adolescents? How should lifelong learning be organized? How can we make the best possible use of our senior employees’ competence? Precisely phrasing and answering such questions requires the cooperation between researchers from widely varying disciplines: medicine, psychology, sociology and economics, just to name a few fields collaborating on these issues in working groups at the Leopoldina.
Confronting issues of demographic change is increasingly moving into the focus of political and public debate. The Leopoldina contributes by collaborating with other scientific academies on related projects. For example, the Academy initiative “Aging in Germany” was the largest interdisciplinary research project on the phenomenon of an aging society in Germany to date. Another academy group initiative is “The Future with Children”, whose results will help to shape the current discussion on fertility in Germany.
Scientific Officer, Department Science - Policy - Society
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