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A Mundane Comedy is Dominic Kelleher's new book, which will be published in mid 2024. The introduction is available here and further extracts will appear on this site and on social media in the coming months.

The 52:52:52 project, launching on this site and on social media in mid 2024, will help you address 52 issues with 52 responses over 52 weeks.

This site addresses what's changing, at the personal, organisational and societal levels. You'll learn about key changes across more than 150 elements of life, from ageing and time, through nature and animals, to kindness and love...and much more besides, which will help you better prepare for related change in your own life.

What's Changing? - Demographics



Please see below recent demographics-related change.


See also: 


In figures:


May 2024


March 2024


February 2024

  • South Korea’s birth rate, the world’s lowest, dipped further in 2023, according to data which showed that the average South Korean woman will have just 0.72 babies, down from 0.76 in 2022, and far below the “replacement” rate of 2.1 children per woman. Experts said the high costs of child-rearing - as well as gender pay gaps and difficulties of balancing career and motherhood - were causing the fertility collapse.
  • Meanwhile, only 753,631 babies were born in Japan in 2023, a fall of more than 5% from 2022, reaching a record low for the eighth straight year. The Japanese government is struggling to turn around a slow motion demographic crisis that could see the world’s fourth largest economy lose a third of its population in the coming decades, damaging the economy and straining social safety nets.


January 2024

  • The FT argued that several features of future global demography are already quite clear. One is that fertility rates - the number of children born per woman - have been falling just about everywhere. In many countries, notably China, fertility rates are far below replacement levels. Meanwhile, the highest fertility rates are in Sub-Saharan Africa. As a result, its share in global population might jump by 10% points by 2060.
  • In 2023, China experienced a population decline of 3.12 million, a marked acceleration from the 850,000 decrease in 2022. (For a detailed analysis of China’s demographic challenges, see China’s economic destiny by Exponential View.)
  • Japan was estimated to face a labour shortage of 11 million people by 2040 as its ageing population peaks and exits the workforce. While AI/robots may displace human labour in some economies, they might also help others avert crises in industries such as construction and retail.


November 2023

  • Life expectancy in the United States rose over one full year to 77.5 in 2022, up from 76.4 years in 2021, according to new CDC data, although that’s still more than a year lower than 2019’s pre-pandemic 78.8 years.


September 2023


August 2023


July 2023

  • Japan’s population fell in all of its 47 prefectures for the first time. The country’s numbers fell by 0.65%, or 800,000 people, in 2022 and the number of foreigners living in the country hit a record 3 million. Those gaijin, as they are known, are partly offsetting a broader trend of Japan’s shrinking and rapidly ageing population, which fell for 14 consecutive years.
  • In The Perennials, Mauro Guillén argued that now that people are living longer, with very different technologies, we are poised for a “postgenerational” society of perennials, or people defined by how they work, learn and live, not by when they were born. There’s already an explosion in the share of those over the age of 30 across the world doing some form of online education, large companies run by young entrepreneurs in their 20s or 30s overseeing much older workforces, older people going back to some form of work after retiring, and brands facing pressure to appeal to people of different ages, not just the latest consumers.


June 2023


May 2023

  • The global population grew from less than 2bn in 1900 to 8bn+ at present. However, global births are expected to trend down while deaths rise as we approach the year 2100. Deaths are actually expected to surpass births before the turn of the century, ending global population growth. The rise of longevity tech designed to help people live longer, healthier lives could have an impact on the global population outlook.
  • Unease about the future is rife among Gen Z and millennials, according to a Deloitte survey. Respondents cited the cost of living as their top societal concern. Having a good work-life balance is paramount for them and a key consideration when choosing a new employer. Nearly half of Gen Zs and four-in-10 millennials feel stressed all or most of the time.
  • For those Gen Z members who entered the workforce after COVID hit, “the pandemic turned their first jobs into a two-year video call”, warned a report by Oliver Wyman and The News Movement, which painted a picture of a detached cohort more interested in their side hustles than their day jobs.


April 2023

  • study from the Club of Rome forecast that global population will peak at around 8.8 billion in 2050. That’s far lower than the consensus UN forecast, which has global population peaking over 10 billion
  • A study by thinktank Recruit Works Institute said that Japan could face a shortfall of 11 million workers by 2040. The report forecast that demand for labour will remain broadly level until 2040, but that a rapidly ageing population will see the workforce shrink by around 12%. Japan's Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, has warned of "societal collapse" if the issue is not addressed.
  • The UK government delayed plans to raise the state pension age to 68 from 2037 because something started to go awry with life expectancy trends. After decades of rapid improvement, progress slowed to a crawl since 2011. In the poorest parts of England, it actually started to fall. Similar trends were evident in “healthy life expectancy” - an estimate of the amount of time people can expect to live in good health.
  • In the US, the biggest contributor to Americans’ shortening life spans is drug overdoses, especially from fentanyl. The pandemic and the mental health crisis that ran alongside it is also to blame. The US saw more COVID deaths than other G-7 nations, while fatalities from suicide and alcohol-induced liver failure skyrocketed. Many of these deaths were of young people, which had a compounded effect on the national average.


March 2023

  • After nearly a decade of steady decline, the number of babies born in Japan in 2022 reached a record low of just 799,728, prompting an adviser to PM Fumio Kishida to warn that “if we go on like this, the country will disappear.” GZERO analysed why Japan is having so few babies, and what the government wants to do about it.
  • China’s demographic crisis reached its capital city. For the first time since 2003, Beijing reported a decline in population.


February 2023


January 2023

  • China’s population fell in 2022 for the first time in decades, a historic shift that is expected to have long-term consequences for the domestic and global economies. The world’s most populous country until 2023 had long been a crucial source of labour and demand, fuelling growth in China and the world. The National Bureau of Statistics announced that the total population fell by 850,000 in 2022 to 1.41175bn, the first decline in 60 years.
  • Japan’s falling birth rate is reportedly threatening social collapse. Prime minister Fumio Kishida warned that his country is on the verge of not being able to function. With a median age of 49, it’s the world's oldest country, and 28% of people are 65+. The nation of 125 million - whose annual births dropped below 800,000 for the first time in 2022, eight years earlier than forecasted - is expected to lose almost one-third of its population by 2060. Japanese women are giving birth less because fewer are getting married, mostly due to more economic opportunities for them, but many are also reluctant to tie the knot due to traditional domestic gender roles that put almost all the burden on women to take care of the house and kids, noted GZERO.


December 2022


November 2022


September 2022

  • The global population is set to reach parity between the sexes by 2050. It’s currently still a male-majority world, but balance should be achieved within the next three decades.
  • The UN estimates that five African countries will be amongst the 10 most populated in the world by 2100: Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Egypt
  • Average life expectancy in the US dropped to 76 in 2021, down three years from 2019. The dip was more pronounced among white Americans and was reported to be at least partly attributable to the pandemic.


August 2022


July 2022

  • Since 1975 the world has added another billion people approximately every 12 years. It passed 7 billion in 2011, and was due to pass 8 billion by the end of 2022. While this rate of absolute growth is similar to previous decades, the growth rate continues to fall. Since 2019, the global population growth rate has fallen below 1%, less than half its peak rate of growth - 2.3% - in the 1960s. As global fertility rates continue to fall, this rate is likely to continue to fall.
  • The global population grew by less than 1% a year for the first time since the aftermath of the second world war in 2020 and 2021, with Europe’s total population actually falling during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the UN. The populations of 61 countries are forecast to decrease by at least 1% between 2022 and 2050, and the associated low fertility rates are likely to also combine with better healthcare to accelerate the ageing of societies.
  • The RSA noted that some key figures in sociology and philosophy believed that understanding generational change is central to understanding the dynamics of society. For example, in the early 1900s, the French philosopher Auguste Comte identified the generation as a key factor in “the basic speed of human development”, arguing that “we should not hide the fact that our social progress rests essentially upon death; which is to say that the successive steps of humanity necessarily require a continuous renovation…from one generation to the next”. Generations do differ from one another and prevent society turning into a “stagnant pond”, as Canadian demographer Norman B. Ryder argued in the 1960s.
  • Because we tend to settle into our value systems and behaviours during late childhood and early adulthood, generation-shaping events have a stronger impact on people who experience them while coming of age. It is therefore crucial that we start to understand what the pandemic will mean for the generation at their most malleable when COVID sent the world grinding to a halt, added the RSA.
  • The share of Germany’s population between the ages of 15 and 24 fell to a historic low of just 10%, about the same as Spain and Austria but below the European average of 10.6%. A shortage of working-age people will, over time, increase pressure for immigration, which remains politically contentious in many countries.
  • The grandparents that many young parents rely on for childcare may increasingly be out of the mix, as retired people are increasingly returning to the workplace due to economic need.  


June 2022


May 2022


April 2022

  • China’s birth rate - the number of births per 1,000 people in the population - fell by just under 30% between 2019 and 2021, the largest two-year fall since the country’s Great Famine between 1959 and 1961. Just 10.6mn babies were born in China in 2021, the lowest number recorded since the Communist party took power in 1949.
  • In 1967, just over 70% of US adults lived with their spouse. By 2021, that number stood at 50%. As more people delayed marriage (or don’t get married at all), the share of adults living with unmarried partners increased from just .4% to 8% over the same timeframe. More people are also living alone or with nonrelatives today. 


March 2022


February 2022

  • Between 2009 and 2016, the number of women freezing their eggs grew by 1000%. However, freezing eggs isn’t a simple process. The procedure is far from a sure thing and it requires time, support and money. In the US, the total cost can easily top $15,000, a price point that has attracted a lot of start-ups and a lot of investment.


January 2022

  • China’s birth rate fell to 7.52 births per 1,000 people in 2021, an 11.6% decline over 2020 and the lowest in its history. The country recorded 10.6 million births and 10.1 million deaths, meaning its population of 1.4 billion had a net increase of just 480,000 people. China is up against demographic momentum set in motion by its former one-child policy. The size of younger generations is shrinking, which means the number of women in their childbearing years is, too.
  • It’s not just China that’s facing a fertility crisis. By the end of the 21st century, the world’s population is expected to nearly stop growing as fertility rates fall. To maintain the population size, 2.1 births per woman are needed, but by 2100 the global fertility rate is projected to drop to ~1.9
  • Bulgaria’s population shrunk by more than 11 percent over the past decade, according to its latest census data. The country has the lowest per capita income in the European Union, and many younger residents have left to pursue economic opportunities elsewhere, while birth rates continue to decline.


December 2021

  • More than any previous generation, millennials are embracing new and alternative ways of managing their money. CB Insights analysed down how millennial preferences are shaping innovation in personal finance and how startups and incumbents are responding.
  • China is not having enough babies, noted Quartz. Around 10 million newborns were entered into Hukou, the Chinese household-registration system, in 2020, according to China’s Ministry of Public Security. This represents a 15% decline from the 11.8 million babies registered in 2019. Although the actual number of new-borns each year would usually be bigger than the official registration figure - because some babies aren’t registered in time and hence not counted by the security ministry - many still see the decrease as evidence of China’s failure to handle its fast-approaching population crisis.
  • Building the Population Bomb (Oxford University Press, 2021), argued that previous theorists presented (over)population as a smokescreen to obscure the more proximate causes of the problems they attributed to population growth, namely, global socioeconomic inequality and environmental degradation. By focusing debate on how to most effectively and equitably slow population growth - legal limits on childbearing or voluntary family planning - proponents of overpopulation elided more direct regulatory and redistributive solutions to the world’s most pressing concerns. For example, framing these issues as “population problems” gets corporations off the hook, at the expense of the most vulnerable members of the world’s population and the planet itself.
  • According to Prospect, the experience of Gen Zers is often paradoxical, even contradictory. They have more “voice” than ever before (a meme or a YouTube or TikTok video can reach millions), but they also have a sense of diminished agency “in real life” (institutions and political and economic systems seem locked, inaccessible to them, and wrongheaded). They are often optimistic about their own generation but deeply pessimistic about the problems they have inherited: climate change, police violence, racial and gender injustice, failures of the political system, the fact they have little chance of owning a home or doing better than their parents.


November 2021


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: 


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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.
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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.