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We actively monitor change covering more than 150 key elements of life.

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What's Changing? - Demographics



Please see below recent demographics-related change.


See also: 


In figures:


September 2021

  • The Covid-19 pandemic triggered the largest falls in life expectancy since the second world war in most developed nations, with American men suffering the most severe losses. A study of death records across 29 countries, spanning most of Europe, the US and Chile, found 27 nations experienced reductions in life expectancy in 2020 at a scale that wiped out years of progress on mortality, according to research led by scientists at the University of Oxford.


July 2021


June 2021

  • China announced that it will now allow parents to have three children. The ruling Communist Party, which half a century ago was worried about overpopulation, is now desperate for Chinese couples to have more babies to bolster the country's sluggish population growth rate, which has plummeted in recent years due to the rising cost of living. For Beijing, this is a very big deal, as a declining and aging population could make it very hard for the country to maintain the strong economic growth needed to rival other economic powerhouses, like India or the US.


May 2021

  • Developments in gene therapy, oncology and more mean that people are living longer. Global average life expectancy increased by more than six years between 2000 and 2019, while healthy life expectancy has also increased.
  • The number of births in the US dropped by four percent in 2020, double the average rate of decline in the past six years, according to CDC data. This means that America's population is now below replacement levels, with more people dying than being born each day.
  • Population experts believe that, eventually, global population will shrink. The United Nations Population Division, which has been the primary compiler of data and forecasts, has predicted that this will begin by the turn of the next century. However, a study published in mid-2020 in academic journal the Lancet predicts that the decline will begin much earlier, largely due to decreasing fertility, by the 2070s.


April 2021

  • GZERO Media noted that "demography is destiny" a pronouncement, credited to French philosopher Auguste Comte, which is today taken to mean that a nation's fate depends on the youthfulness of its population. For a poor country to become rich, it needs lots of young people ready to work, to support those too old or too young to work, and to pay taxes. This is called the "demographic dividend."
  • Quartz argued that some young people who pride themselves on being egalitarian have a blind spot when it comes to their elders. There are reasons for intergenerational resentment, starting with the wealth gap between millennials and boomers. But younger generations’ systemic objections to the distribution of wealth and power in the can wind up turning into ageism,
  • Japan’s population is projected to decline by over a quarter by 2060 compared to 2019 levels. This, combined with an ageing population and a reduced labour force, risks having a major impact on Japan’s economy. In an attempt to address this, the government announced that it will invest £14m into AI matchmaking services to help young couples find love and start families. They are even providing funds to help newlyweds set up their new homes.
  • In Indonesia,  the world's fourth most populous country, the state is working to ease future demand for jobs and social services by lowering the birth rate. Its government is investing in education and tech development and training, but it's also actively promoting later marriages, family planning and contraception to flatten population growth by 2025.
  • According to a Financial Times report, China's population dipped below the 1.4 billion mark that it reached in 2019. Experts blame rising costs of living, education, and childcare. For decades, the Chinese Communist Party was worried about overpopulation, and in 1978 it imposed the infamous "one-child policy." But in 2016 the government relaxed those restrictions because of fears of sluggish population growth. A stagnant or shrinking population could present serious long term problems for China's economic growth and the care of older generations.


March 2021


January 2021

  • Projections from major economic institutions suggest we could see a few important statistical records broken in the year ahead. Longer lifespans and falling fertility rates will continue to age the global population. In 2021, the global median is expected to hit 31 for the first time in recorded history, according to projections from the United Nations.


December 2020


November 2020



October 2020

  • More than half of Nigeria's 206 million people are under 30, and the median age is 18.4.


September 2020

  • China’s middle class isn’t spending as much as it’s supposed to. Or at least as much as the politburo wants it to. Xi Jinping has projected Chinese per capita GDP of $14,000 by 2024, up from around $10,000 last year. The South China MP analysed why this may not happen. Too much of the national income goes to state enterprises and the very rich, and not enough to the supposedly 560 million-strong middle class. Six hundred million Chinese get by on $1,752 per year.


August 2020


July 2020

  •  The world's population will likely grow more slowly than expected and peak at 9.7 billion by 2064, according to a UN study. This figure is around 2 billion lower than most current estimates, and lower fertility rates worldwide mean that by the end of the century, populations will be declining in 183 out of 195 countries.
  • The world is ill-prepared for the global crash in children being born which is set to have a "jaw-dropping" impact on societies, say researchers. Falling fertility rates mean nearly every country could have shrinking populations by the end of the century. And 23 nations - including Spain and Japan - are expected to see their populations halve by 2100. Countries will also age dramatically, with as many people turning 80 as there are being born.
  • However, Africa’s population could triple by the end of the century even as the rest of the world shrinks, warned Quartz. Africa will see a population boom, led by Nigeria, will result in the number of African countries with populations higher than 100 million jump from two, at present, to nine by 2100.
  • The millennial and Gen Z workers who asked for more flexibility at their jobs are the ones most yearning for a more traditional work situation during the pandemic, according to Quartz, which examined how young people were feeling about the coronavirus pandemic in comparison to their older peers, For these younger workers, the return to the office might actually spark joy.
  • Indeed, young workers are missing the office more than their older counterparts. In a survey of US workers conducted in April, over 70% of Gen Z and 60% of millennials felt negative about working from home, compared to 50% of older workers.


March 2020

  • Many people are living longer and retiring later, which means that up to five generations of employees now have to learn how to work together under one roof. In most workplaces, this is realistically limited to four generations, with people born shortly after the Second World War having to adapt to the working styles of their digitally savvy colleagues, and those younger employees having to respect the experience and traditional ways of working of their older peers.


February 2020

  • Egypt's booming population has reached 100 million, making the North African country the most populous Arab nation. The Egyptian government has tried to implement policies to curb population growth in an increasingly resource-strapped country where around a third of the population lives in poverty.


January 2020

  • More people are staying in the workforce for longer–because they want to. As human life spans lengthen, older adults are changing careers, taking on new roles, and even going back to school at ages that once would have been considered retirement-ready, wrote the Wall Street Journal.


December 2019

  • In the 2020s, the number of over-65s on the planet will overtake the number of children under five. This profound demographic shift is a consequence of longer lives and plummeting birth rates outside sub-Saharan Africa. It will require us to change our thinking about the social contract, healthcare, work and the rhythm of careers, even the very notion of family: some households will have multiple generations living under one roof; others will need to build support networks through neighbours and peers, not children.


November 2019


October 2019

  • Of the world's fastest-shrinking populations, 90 percent are in East and Southeast Europe. Poor job prospects and inadequate social services are causing young people to seek opportunities abroad, threatening economic growth in the region


September 2019

  • Japan set new records as the world’s most aged population. More than 28% of the country is now aged 65 or older, exacerbating a growing labour shortage. Nearly a quarter of those seniors still work, with many in retail or forestry jobs.


August 2019

  • According to a Gallup poll, 44% of Russians between the ages of 15-29 say they want to move to another country permanently. That's up 30 points over the past five years. Russia's dwindling population and chronic brain drain are already threatening its prospects as a global power.


July 2019


June 2019

  • A UN Population Division report projects that the global population will hit 9.7 billion by 2050, up from the current 7.7 billion. Most of that population growth will come from sub-Saharan Africa, which is expected to add another billion people over the next three decades.


May 2019


April 2019

  • Middle classes in developed nations are under pressure from stagnant income growth, rising lifestyle costs and unstable jobs, and this risks fuelling political instability, the OECD warned. The club of 36 rich nations said middle-income workers had seen their standard of living stagnate over the past decade, while higher-income households had continued to accumulate income and wealth. The costs of housing and education were rising faster than inflation and middle-income jobs faced an increasing threat from automation. The squeezing of middle incomes was fertile ground for political instability as it pushed voters towards anti-establishment and protectionist policies, according to the OECD chief of staff.
  • Japan's population is shrinking by the equivalent of a medium-sized city each year due to a rapidly declining birth rate. The native-born Japanese population fell by 430,000 in 2018, while 161,000 migrants entered the country, partially offsetting that loss.
  • Of the nearly 270 million people living in Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim majority country, around 42 percent, or 113 million, are under the age of 25.
  • The population of Americans under age 18 will be majority non-white by 2020, according to a study by a Brookings Institution demographer. In less than a decade, most Americans under 30 will be non-white. By 2045, a majority of all Americans will be non-white


March 2019


February 2019


January 2019


December 2018

  • Longevity is increasing and is set to put a growing population of retirees under immense stress in the coming decades as people struggle to pay for their retirement. Life expectancies have risen by an average of three years per decade since the 1940s and, while retirement ages are gradually increasing, people are spending longer not working without the savings to justify it. This has created a $70-trillion pensions timebomb in eight of the world’s largest economies, which could swell by nearly six times by 2050, warned Raconteur.
  • In Japan there are approximately 400,000 more deaths than births every year and over 28% of the population is older than 65, compared with 15% in America. The demographic crunch is creating labour shortages and straining public funds. To ease it, the government is encouraging women and old people to work, thinking of increasing contributions to medical bills and considering allowing in more blue-collar immigrants, but far more needs to be done, according to The Economist.
  • Japan’s population is ageing so quickly that there are now more adult diapers than baby diapers sold across the country each year, according to GZEROMedia.
  • By 2025, 75% of the workforce will be millennials. That means millennials globally will occupy not only the majority of individual contributor positions but the majority of leadership roles as well. They'll be responsible for making important decisions that affect workplace cultures and people's lives. Gallup outlined three distinctions between millennials and previous generations: millennials are connected, unconstrained and idealistic.
  • “Perennials,” not millennials, will trigger the next wave of talent-retention efforts, according to Quartz. Older workers are now the fastest-growing population of workers in the US.
  • Further reading: 


November 2018

  • Before our eyes, argued the Harvard Business Review, the world is undergoing a massive demographic transformation. In many countries, the population is getting old. Very old. Globally, the number of people age 60 and over is projected to double to more than 2 billion by 2050 and those 60 and over will outnumber children under the age of 5.
  • One conclusion from HBR’s research: retirement is going extinct and employers need to adapt to aging populations and shifting employment trends.
  • There has been a remarkable global decline in the number of children women are having, researchers told the BBC. Their report found fertility rate falls meant nearly half of countries were now facing a "baby bust" - meaning there are insufficient children to maintain their population size. The researchers said the findings were a "huge surprise". And there would be profound consequences for societies with "more grandparents than grandchildren". The study, published in the Lancet, followed trends in every country from 1950 to 2017. In 1950, women were having an average of 4.7 children in their lifetime. The fertility rate all but halved to 2.4 children per woman by last year.
  • In 2017, reported The Economist, the number of births in America fell to its lowest level in 30 years. The total fertility rate, which estimates the average number of children a woman can expect to have over her lifetime at current birth rates for each age, is 1.76 - below the “replacement rate” needed to keep populations stable. Implementing policies that help people combine work and parenthood, including parental leave, could halt the decline, the newspaper believes. The US drop started soon after the recession of 2007, but continued beyond the economy’s recovery. It has been particularly acute among Hispanics and urbanites, possibly because of higher rent, smaller houses and immigrants adopting American lifestyles.
  • China is turning grey on a scale the world has never seen, noted Quartz News, exploring what happens when the world’s largest group of baby boomers remains eager and able to work past retirement age, and why we need to redefine the role of ageing populations in society.
  • Africa’s urban population is expanding at 4 percent per year, nearly twice the global average, but countries on the continent aren’t experiencing the rise in prosperity typically associated with rapid urbanisation, warned GZEROMedia, adding that this is because, in contrast to the historical experience elsewhere, many of Africa’s new urban dwellers are being absorbed by the informal economy rather than higher paying manufacturing jobs.
  • Further reading:


October 2018


September 2018

  • As the world’s population surges towards 8 billion people, GZEROMedia points to two massive demographic trends that will have distinct political consequences for different countries around the world.
    • First, in many industrialised countries, population growth rates are stagnating or, as in Eastern Europe and parts of East Asia, falling. These countries are greying fast as the share of old folks rises.
    • Meanwhile in vast reaches of Sub-Saharan Africa and parts of the Middle East, people are also living longer while at the same time youth populations are also currently exploding. By some estimates, Africa alone will account for almost all of the global population growth that occurs in this century (2 billion people in total).
  • For GZEROMedia, this means that many rich countries need more people, many poor countries need more jobs - more immigration flows could help both, but they’re just not politically feasible. That means that financial challenges will rise in rich countries while social pressures rise in poor ones....even before one factors in the growing impact of automation and robotics.
  • Meanwhile, the most populous country in the world has a surprising problem: not enough people. Although China has 1.4 billion citizens, the government is worried that it’s falling short: with too few people of working age to sustain high levels of economic growth and support retirees and too few women (while governments around the world have, with few exceptions, generally fared poorly with schemes meant to boost fertility). 
  • New analysis of international data from 35 countries, published by the International Longevity Centre, argued in favour of a “longevity dividend”. The authors found that as life expectancy increases, so does “output per hour worked, per worker and per capita”. Yet, much of the public debate on ageing has been framed in terms of a “burden”. As populations age, governments have worried about how a swelling population of retired people will put increasing stress on pension systems and the social care sector.
  • The population of sub-Saharan Africa was 180m in 1950. By 2050 it will be 2.2bn, a surge that will not necessarily leave people without food, but will hamper development. The UN expects fertility rates to fall in every mainland African country over the next few decades, but at a slower pace than in other developing regions. Three things could drastically change the picture: family planning, female education and stability in the Sahel, believes The Economist.
  • Indeed, sub-Saharan Africa will account for 37 percent of the world’s births by 2050, according to UN forecasts, up from 27 percent today and 16 percent in the 1990s. The surging birthrate will make Africa’s population the fastest-growing on the planet in coming decades, putting pressure on the continent’s governments to provide economic opportunities, health care, and other essential services for more than a billion new citizens.
  • Nearly 90% of Japan’s centenarians are women. The nation just reached a record-high of 69,785 people aged 100 or older.
  • A study found huge differences in life expectancies across America, from 97.5 years down to 56, the same as in Somalia. The study suggests that income and race play a huge part in this inequality. It corroborates other research that shows that in America, the rich can afford to live longer,
  • The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development says that the world will not even achieve 50% internet use until the end of 2018. If the world maintains current internet user growth rates - a big if  0 we won’t approach 100% global internet adoption for well over two decades. This could exacerbate the current fault lines of global inequality, warned the World Economic Forum. Internet use is overwhelmingly concentrated in advanced economies, and the biggest gaps are in the world’s poorest areas.
  • Sperm count in men from North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand declined by 50-60% between 1973 and 2011, according to a new study from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The study, which analysed data on the sperm counts of 42,935 men, found no decline in sperm counts in men from Asia, Africa and South America, although there was limited data from these areas.
  • If the data on sperm counts is extrapolated to its logical conclusion, men will have little or no reproductive capacity from 2060 onwards, warned The World Economic Forum. The most rational explanation for the decline in male reproductive health is the changes in the environment. Current research suggests that the male foetus is particularly susceptible to exposure to pollutants and so changes that occur early in foetal life can have a very significant effect on the adult.
  • The FT noted that many millennials end up at big companies. A 2016 survey by the US think-tank the Economic Innovation Group and EY found nearly two-thirds of American millennials had considered starting their own business, but only just over a fifth believed entrepreneurship was the best way to advance their career. In fact, 44% thought staying with one company and working their way up the ladder - like their parents may have done - was the preferable route.
  • Americans under the age of 45 have found a novel way to rebel against their elders, reported Bloomberg: they’re staying married. New data show younger couples are approaching relationships very differently from baby boomers, who married young, divorced, remarried and so on. Millennials are being pickier about who they marry, tying the knot at older ages when education, careers and finances are on track. The result is a U.S. divorce rate that dropped 18% from 2008 to 2016, according to an analysis by the University of Maryland
  • Further reading: 


August 2018


July 2018


June 2018

  • China has overtaken the US in “healthy life expectancy” for the first time. Chinese newborns can expect 68.7 years of healthy life, compared with 68.5 years for American babies. American newborns can still expect to live longer overall – 78.5 years compared to 76.4 in China, but Americans are more likely to spend their later years in ill health.
  • The Cato Institute recently published an analysis of population, prices, and income from 1960 to 2016. Over these 56 years, world population increased by 145 per cent, from 3 billion to almost 7.5 billion. Yet, inflation adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) per person increased by 183 per cent, from $3,689 to $10,391. So, income grew 38 per cent faster than population.
  • The study also looked at prices of 42 natural resources from 1960 to 2016, as tracked by the World Bank. Adjusted for inflation, 19 declined in price, while 23 increased in price. Out of those 23 commodities, only three (crude oil, gold, and silver) appreciated more than GDP per person. Put differently, GDP per person grew faster than 92 per cent of the commodities measured. The overall inflation adjusted price index of the 42 commodities increased by 33 per cent over the 56 year period. However, after adjusting for the appreciation in GDP per person, commodity prices fell by 53 per cent. Humanity is therefore creating faster than it is consuming. concluded HumanProgress.
  • With the global population now exceeding 7 billion, National Geographic provided a broad overview of demographic trends that got us to today and will impact us tomorrow. Meanwhile, the global population is still growing by an estimated 79 million per year.
  • Further reading:


May 2018


April 2018


March 2018


February 2018


January 2018


December 2017


November 2017


October 2017


August 2017


July 2017





By 2020:

  • Over 60% of world's population is will live in cities that are networked and integrated.
  • The urban population is expected to grow globally from 3.6 billion (as of 2010) to 4.3 billion (in 2020) and to 5 billion in 2030.
  • The size of the global middle class could increase from 1.8 billion people to 3.2 billion by 2020 and to 4.9 billion by 2030.
  • At least 70 million new consumers are expected to enter the global middle class each year.
  • 90 percent of the world's population over 6 years old will have a mobile phone.
  • Millennials will account for one-third of the adult population by 2020 and 75 percent of the workforce by 2025.