Population Aging, Worse than the Black Plague?

Dominic Gagnon
Pierre André Ménard , CRIM

Population aging is still the most important demographic challenge in many parts of the world. Often portrayed as catastrophic by the laymen, academics view of this phenomenon is also often colored by a strong negative tint: job shortage, explosion of social services costs, intergenerational fracture and economic collapse. This research is the first step in the creation of an automated tool whose purpose is to collect and analyze how negatively population aging is presented in the literature and what vocabulary is used to convey the sentiments about this phenomenon. In this first step, 318 digital media articles that include idioms related to population aging are analysed by annotators. Their role is to specify if the context surrounding the occurrence of these idioms suggest a positive, negative or neutral feeling (polarity). A terminological analysis is then made to determine what is the vocabulary that is mostly associated with each polarity and idiom. The descriptive results that will stem from this research will give us a more objective measure of the negativity that seems to go hand in hand with the depiction population aging. It will also show if the sentiment is different in Europe, North America and Asia. Finally, we will be able to analyse the correlation between the media representation of population aging and its objective level.

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 Presented in Session P2. Poster Session Ageing, Health and Mortality