Communities around the world are experiencing rapid and profound demographic change, creating new challenges for businesses and individuals alike.
After more than 200 years of rapid growth the world’s population is set to peak at 11 billion by the end of the century. People are living longer and are having fewer children. As populations age, there will be fewer workers to support the growing number of people in retirement.
For every elderly person, today there are four people of working age. By 2050 that ratio is projected to be just two people of working age to every four elderly persons. For places like Europe this will mean a need to increase participation in the labour force from women and the elderly themselves, plus possibly an increased reliance on immigration to sustain the workforce.
Human demographic change is occurring at a different pace across the globe. By 2050, Africa will be the major contributor to global population growth. Africa’s share of global population will rise from 16% in 2015 to 25% in 2050. As the developed world ages, Africa’s younger population will require very different approaches and policies. If managed well, a youthful population carries an energy that can be harnessed for dynamic economic growth.
Demographic and social changes will see governments and business finding huge opportunities as well as facing huge challenges, as the largest generation in history, millennials, drive the economy. Millennials and those that come after them, will be more educated and come with different expectations regarding opportunity, mobility, relationships and ownership.
If we want to thrive not just survive in the 21st century we must address global needs for more women joining the workforce, lifelong learning, and adequate healthcare.
Roser, M., Ritchie, H. and Ortiz-Ospina, E. (2019). World Population Growth. (online) Our World in Data. Available here: https://ourworldindata.org/world-population-growth
UN News (2019). Growing at a slower pace, world population is expected to reach 9.7 billion in 2050 and could peak at nearly 11 billion around 2100. Department of Economic and Social Affairs. New York. Available here: https://www.un.org/development/desa/en/news/population/world-population-prospects-2019.html
United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Divisions (2015) World Population Ageing 2015. Available here: https://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/publications/pdf/ageing/WPA2015_Report.pdf
Worldometer (2019) Africa Population, Worldometer. Available here: https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/africa-population/