THE Northern Division has recorded an increase in the number of elderly people joining the workforce from 2004 to 2011.
These are people older than 64 years.
Presenting a sneak preview of his report at the Fiji Economy Update 2013 seminar in Labasa, Professor Wadan Narsey said the increase totalled 21 per cent compared to the three per cent of workers between the ages of 15 and 64 years.
The report titled 'Fiji Women and Men at Work and Leisure in 2010 - 2011' to be released next month labelled the situation as a serious one.
"This is a serious issue of the elderly being left behind in the Northern Division because the younger generation is moving to Viti Levu," Mr Narsey said.
He also said the division recorded about 16 per cent increase in those seen as "economically active" between 2004 and 2011.
In the formal sector of employment in Vanua Levu, Mr Narsey said that there had not been many employment opportunities created between 2004 and 2011.
"It is very bad news for the North because there is simply not much money to flow around in the division," he said.
However, he said investments like the road upgrading should make a difference.
Concerns have also been raised over the past years about how the rural urban drift has contributed to the elderly being left behind to do farm work in the North while the younger generation seek white-collar jobs.
In one of his visits to the Dreketi Rice Irrigation farm a few years ago, President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau raised his concern after meeting the elderly who stayed back on their farms while their children have gone to the urban centres for further education and jobs.