Along with the hoopla that has inevitably broken out in the
media with the UN’s population estimation of the world’s population in 2100
(over 10 billion) there has been little analysis of how the UN has also
predicted that the world population is also growing older. According to the UN’s
2009 edition of the World Population Document, the ageing of the worlds’ population
By 2045 there will be more people above the age of 60 then
there will be under the age 15 in the world (we in the enlightened developed
world passed that milestone thirteen years ago).
The reductions of fertility worldwide mean that population ageing
“is affecting nearly all the countries in the world”. According to the UN, this has a “direct
bearing on both the intergenerational and intragenerational equity and
solidarity that are the foundations of society”. Unfortunately I could not find an App that
translates bureaucracy-speak, but I will take a stab and guess that it means
that there is the risk of running battles in the streets between gangs of young
people and the elderly who before this ageing of society were living in a
(Well, fine, you tell me what it means!!!)
Population ageing will also have “major consequences and
implications for all facets of human life”.
The UN points to the profound impact it will have on economic growth, consumption,
labour market, housing demand, family structures, healthcare services.
Perhaps most interestingly, the UN predicts that population
ageing is enduring. In 1950 the proportion of the world
population aged over 60 was 8%, in 2009 it was 11%, and in 2050 it is expected
to reach 22%. As long as we get better at curing diseases and helping the
elderly to live longer and as long as we (including the UN) keep pushing family
planning, abortion, contraception, and fewer children then proportion of older
persons will continue to increase.
So what does this mean for the world? What does this mean
for the country that you are living in? What does it mean for your community?
Are we talking about this? Are we really prepared to deal with a world that is
older? What are we doing to prepare ourselves for it – to change the way our
economy and workforce is structured? Does
anyone have any answers – or are we too busy worrying about the possibility that Nigeria will be the third-largest country in 2100?
No one better mention Logan’s Run, I’m already 27!