National Transfer Accounts: Understanding the Generational Economy

The goal of the National Transfer Accounts (NTA) project is to improve understanding of how population growth and changing population age structure influence economic growth, gender and generational equity, public finances, and other important features of the macro-economy. Research teams in more than 60 countries are constructing accounts that measure how people at each age produce, consume, and share resources, and save for the future. These accounts are designed to complement the UN System of National Accounts, population data, and other important economic and demographic indicators.

The NTA project is shedding light on many areas of importance to policymakers:

  • Public policy on pensions, health care, education, and reproductive health
  • Social institutions, such as the extended family
  • The full economic contribution of women
  • Social, political, and economic implications of population aging

US lifecycle Triangle
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Workshop Everyone

What's New

Thirteenth Global NTA Conference: Save the Date

The Thirteenth Global NTA Conference will take place at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, on 3-7 August 2020. The organizing committee has already started booking rooms, and we're looking forward to welcoming our NTA colleagues. Check this site for more information as it becomes available, including deadlines for registration and paper submissions.

First NTA-Africa Conference announced

NTA Africa announcement

The Regional Excellence Center in Generational Economy (CREG) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) are pleased to announce that the First NTA-Africa Conference will be convened from 28-30 October 2019 at the Royal Horizon Baobab Hotel - Somone (Senegal). For more information, go to: The draft conference agenda is attached.

NTA Researcher Receives Commendation from President of South Korea

SangHyop Lee On 29 August 2019, during the celebration of South Korea's Statistics Day, NTA Chair Sang-Hyop Lee received a Presidential Commendation Award at the Government Complex in Daejeon. The Korean Statistics Commissioner presented the award, which stated: "We are presenting this award for your substantial contribution to national industrial development through the production of reliable statistics: President Moon Jae-In."

Demographic Dividends Featured in SDGs: Transforming Our World

The United Nations Association-UK has just released a comprehensive report and website that provide analysis and recommendations on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The report includes an article on demographic dividends authored by Andrew Mason and Sang-Hyop Lee. Mason and Lee argue that "Progress toward achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets is closely linked to demographic trends.... The goal should be to establish public programmes that provide some basic level of security but that can be sustained in the years ahead."

Statistics Korea Releases NTA Data

For the first time, Statistics Korea has made data from the National Transfer Accounts available as a component of official government statistics. The data, which show how finances are redistributed between age groups, will be used as a basis for developing national pension and health insurance policies. Korean media announced the release on 22 January 2019. See The World on Arirang.

NTA Network Elections

Congratulations to the all those elected to serve as officers, members of the Executive Council, and members of the Nominating Committee. The officers for 2018-2020 are:

  • Chair: Sang-Hyop Lee
  • Vice-Chair: Gretchen Donehower
  • Secretary: Iván Mejía Guevara

The members of the Executive Council and the Nominating Committee and can be found at Governance.

12th Global Meeting of the NTA Network: Opportunities and Challenges of the Demographic Transition for Meeting the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, Mexico City, July 23-27, 2018

Wang Feng group


Agenda and Presentations

Click on each day to see the full agenda and presentations.

Day One

Day Two

Day Three

Day Four

Day Five

Photo Gallery

Photos from Day One Provided by CONAPO

Photos taken by Wang Feng

Photos taken by Sidney Westley

Workshop on Effective Use of Data for Policy Making on Aging, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 5-7 December 2017

NTA Group Photo

12th NTA Global Meeting The NTA working group for Asia and the Pacific held a Workshop on the Effective Use of Data for Policy Making on Aging from 5-6 December 2017 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The workshop brought together about 100 participants from 20 participating countries and three international and regional organizations. Participants included academic experts, government officials, parliamentarians, and representatives from civil society and international organizations.

Workshop presentations, agenda, participants

New Results for Moldova

With support from UNFPA-Moldova, Expert-Grup has completed NTA estimates and a comprehensive analysis of the demographic dynamics in the Moldova economy. The report and a NTA dashboard are available here: Outside Publications that Feature NTA Results

New Global Demographic Dividend Estimates

New estimates of demographic dividends for 166 countries around the world are now available. The estimates were constructed in cooperation with the United Nations Population Division in conjunction with the 50th United Nations Commission on Population and Development. More information including downloadable data are available here: Dividend Data

Counting Women's Work Project

CWW1 CWWlogo This NTA project has developed methods for using time-use data to estimate the monetary value of unpaid services produced and consumed by gender and age groups. Combining estimates for the market and the household with the age dimension in a cross-national comparative context will bring women’s total economic contributions into view and establishes sound terms of public discussion and policy debate around issues of gender and the economy. For more information see NTA Bulletin 11: Counting Women's Work: Measuring the Gendered Economy in the Market and at Home and the CWW website.

Recent NTA Publications

NTA Bulletin 13: What Do We Learn When We "Count Women's Work?"

NTA Bulletin 2011-1 Standard measures of economic activity leave out one extremely important component of production and consumption―the unpaid care and household services most often provided by women. Adding unpaid services to measures of economic activity shows that women are not an "untapped" source of labor. Policymakers looking to increase female participation in the formal labor market need to keep in mind that women are already working as much or more than men. In some societies, the time that adolescent girls and young women spend on unpaid housework may be limiting the time they have available to pursue an education. Taking account of unpaid care and housework substantially increases the cost of raising children but also shows that the elderly, who often contribute substantially to care and housework, are not as heavy a burden on their families as sometimes suggested.%
Download PDF: NTA Bulletin 13

All issues of the NTA Bulletin

NTA Bulletin 12: Sharing the Demographic Dividend: Findings from Low- and Middle-Income Countries in Asia

NTA Bulletin 2011-1 Recent work by NTA teams in Asia has shed light on how both the contributions and benefits associated with population change are shared-—among age groups, between genders, among income groups, and between urban and rural residents. Better insights into these distributional issues can help policymakers maximize the potential of demographic change to stimulate economic growth and reduce the disparities among population groups.

Download PDF: NTA Bulletin 12

All issues of the NTA Bulletin

Second National Transfer Accounts Data Sheet: August 2016

2016 Data Sheet NTA's second data sheet provides estimates of 23 variables for 59 countries in Africa, East Asia and the Pacific, South and Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, and Europe. Estimates cover per capita consumption by children and the elderly, support ratios, fiscal support ratios, human-capital spending, labor income of young adults, and sources of economic support for children and the elderly.

PDF file: NTA Data Sheet 2016
Excel file: NTA Data Sheet 2016 excel

For a more complete list of NTA publications, go to the Publications section.

Recent Scholarly Publications by NTA Members

Dramani, Latif (2019). Dividende démographique et développement durable au Sénégal. Volume 1. and Volume 2. Dakar: L'Harmattan.

Cet ouvrage propose un changement paradigmatique, après que les nombreuses politiques de développement ont manqué à la promesse de la prospérité partagée dans les pays en développement. Son ambition est d'accompagner efficacement les gouvernants par une simplification des méthodes, en leur proposant des outils adaptés à l'élaboration de politiques multisectorielles.

Lee, Ronald, and Andrew Mason, editors and lead authors (2019). Population aging and the generational economy: A global perspective (In Farsi). Translated by Majid Koosheshi and Leili Niakan.

This NTA classic has recently been translated into Farsi.

Mason, Andrew, and Ronald Lee (2019). Intergenerational transfers in the United States. International Centre on Aging (CENIE).

The United States is unique among high-income countries in its heavy reliance on assets and its low reliance on public transfers to fund old-age needs. Among 65-year-olds, asset-based reallocations support 86 percent of the lifecycle deficit, but the role of public transfers increases steadily with age.

Mason, Andrew, and Sang-Hyop Lee (2019). Demographic dividends: Policies based on an understanding of population dynamics will help countries achieve the SDGs. In SDGs: Transforming our world. 2019 edition. United Nations Association. UK.

Taking advantage of the opportunities and responding to the challenges presented by the demographic transition require forward-looking policies that take account of population dynamics.... The success of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which pledges that no one will be left behind, is strongly bound to anticipating and planning for the effects of the demographic transition that will unfold during the SDG period.

'''Merette, Marcel, and Julien Navaux (2019), Population aging in Canada: What life cycle deficit age profiles are telling us about living standards. 'Canadian Public Policy/Analyse de politiques.' June:192-211.'''

This article assesses age profiles for labor income, consumption, and the lifecycle deficit in Canada from 1998 to 2013. it shows that the increase in the lifecycle deficit at young and old ages was not entirely compensated by an increase in the lifecycle surplus of working-age groups.

For a more complete list of scholarly publications by NTA members, go to the Publications section.

NTA Classics

NTA Manual cover Population Aging Generational Economy cover
NTA Manual Population aging and the generational economy

For a more complete list of NTA publications, go to the Publications section.

Other Publications that Feature NTA Analysis

Olanrewaju Olaniyan, Adedoyin Soyibo, et al., 2018. Harnessing the Demographic Dividend for Sustainable Development: 2016 Demographic Dividend Report of Nigeria

This comprehensive report on the Demographic Dividend incorporates up-to-date demographic data and newly available NTA estimates for 2016.

Demographic dividend Nigeria 2016

2015-2016 World Bank and International Monetary Fund Global Monitoring Report

GMR cover The 2015-2016 World Bank and International Monetary Fund Global Monitoring Report (GMR) focused on demographic trends that will impact future economic growth and development. Analyses of NTA data took center stage in the discussion of how changing population age structures shape development trajectories in many countries. GMR 2015/2016 link, and online snippets are available HERE.

Website on the Demographic Dividend

A website, co-hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Population Reference Bureau, prominently features NTA's work on the Demographic Dividend in Africa. The objective is to host resource materials available from a number of organizations engaged in research, advocacy, and policy work related to the demographic dividend. Organizations are encouraged to share their collective and individual contributions to the research literature and base of policy communication materials on the demographic dividend by emailing either a link or a PDF file.

Demographic Dividend website

Video featuring NTA work on the Demographic Dividend

The Graying of the American Economy: Fiscal Math Is Daunting: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta's 2015 Annual Report

Gretchan Donehower provided NTA information to the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank on taxes and social contributions paid and public benefits received by age. Two NTA charts are featured in the on-line write-up of the bank's 2015 annual report.

Recent NTA Meetings

NTA: Principles, Methodology, and Construction, Moscow NRU HSE, 20-22 June 2017

A Workshop on National Transfer Accounting: Principles, methodology, and the main problems of construction was organized in Moscow on 20-22 June 2017. It was held at the National Research University Higher School of Economics. The participants represented 12 countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

NTA Conference in Europe: Selected Presentations Available

The Hungarian Demographic Research Institute recently hosted a conference on National Transfer Accounts as part of the European FP7 AGENTA project funded by the European Commission. All presentations from the open session of this 3rd AGENTA Project Meeting, held in Budapest on 9 March 2017, are available online. More information about the Agenta Project is also available.

For more information about NTA meetings, go to the Meetings section.

NTA in the News: Recent Articles

7 October 2019: Counting women's work in University of Cape Town News. By Morné Oosthuizen.

In South Africa, unpaid housework and caregiving—provided almost entirely by women—accounts for about one-fourth of 27 percent of GDP. Researchers recommend policies to support market-provided childcare for adult women and for younger women whose final school years might be interrupted by family care responsibilities. They also suggest policies that encourage men to take more active roles in their households, especially childcare, and greater work flexibility for all parents.

18 March 2019: Population aging and fiscal challenges in China in N-IUSS: IUSSP's online news magazine. By Feng Wang, Ke Shen, and Yong Cai.

Within the next 15 to 30 years, China will face unprecedented fiscal pressure to fund its social welfare programs in response to accelerating population aging and inevitable welfare expansion.

10 March 2019: National Transfer Accounts in Spain: 1900-1970 (in Spanish) on CENIE: Centro Internacional sobre el Envejecimiento website. By Concepcion Patxot Cardoner.

El objetivo de este proyecto es hacer un análisis histórico de la evolución del estado del bienestar en España y su relación con la evolución económica y demográfica.

26 February 2019: China isn’t having enough babies in The New York Times. An opinion piece by Wang Feng and Yong Cai based in part on NTA research.

Changing demographics create major political tests for China’s leaders, present and future. One is how to maintain growth as the population keeps aging and the work force’s relative size keeps shrinking. Another is how to deliver the economic and social benefits that Chinese people now expect from the state.

22 January 2019: Statistics Korea releases NTA data in The World on Arirang.

For the first time, Statistics Korea has made data from the National Transfer Accounts available as a component of official government statistics. The data, which show how finances are redistributed between age groups, will be used as a basis for developing national pension and health insurance policies.

27 May 2018: The young get more than the old out of society, but they get less from the state in The Independent.

Based on NTA research, Pieter Vanhuysse finds that Europe is a continent of pro-elderly welfare states, embedded within societies composed of strongly child-oriented families.

4 April 2018: The case for fewer babies in The Korea Times.

In this article, Ronald Lee argues that the costs of Korea's low birth rate may be somewhat exaggerated.

8 July 2017: The Economist special report on aging and longevity draws on NTA analysis.

Two articles in this special report quote NTA members Andrew Mason and Ronald Lee:

A fuller list of media coverage of NTA is at NTA in the news.

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