Our Aging World: Wave Goodbye To The Population Pyramid

Animating the changing shape of the world population pyramid. The Economist: http://econ.st/1xqEZhX.

The young have always outnumbered the old, but as fertility rates drop and lifespans go up, this is starting to change. 

 

The Economist

The world's population once resembled a pyramid, each group decreasing with age.

No more.

For the first time in history we'll have a 'population column', shown to the left.

 

 

As for the over 60s, by 2050 there will be:

  • 2 billion worldwide
  • 219 million in Europe
  • 350 million in China
  • 240 million in India
  • 89 million in the United States

These numbers are staggering. 

Credit: Heather Griffin

Why does this matter?

The US alone already has 40 million people over 60 - more than the entire population of California. These numbers are straining resources worldwide and will affect nearly every aspect of society.

This trend matters because it means older individuals will have more of a say in politics and society than ever before. We can't know for sure exactly how this will effect things like the economy or political leanings, but it could be a blessing or a curse.

Longer lives are something to celebrate, but if we don't galvanise people now it'll be too late to act

Seeing figures and data like this hits home that our world is changing, and changing for good. Fertility rates always drop as living standards rise, so this population model is likely here to stay. Getting this kind of information out there shows people that tackling aging and age-related disease is essential to avoid a devastating 'silver tsunami' - in which medical and care costs balloon, and millions suffer years of ill health. 

Read more at Transgenerational