The Herman Trend Alert
August 24, 2016
Aging World Populations
With advances in sanitation and medicine, people in virtually every country worldwide are living longer. In addition, they represent an increasing proportion of the world's population and that trend will affect almost all aspects of society.
By the numbers
Between now and 2030, the number of people in the world aged 60 years or over is projected to grow by 56 percent; and by 2050, the same group is projected to more than double. Across the globe, the population aged 80 years and over is growing still faster than the number of older persons overall. According to projections by the United Nations, by 2050 this group of people 80 and older will more than triple. The proportion of the world's older persons, aged 80 years plus, is projected to rise from 14 percent in 2015 to more than 20 percent by 2050.
Over the next 15 years, the populations aged 60 years or over in Latin America and the Caribbean are expected to grow fastest (71 percent), followed by Asia (66 percent), Africa (64 percent), Oceania (47 percent), North America (41 percent) and Europe (23 percent). Moreover, older populations in urban areas are growing faster than in rural areas. Globally, over the last few years, the number of people aged 60 years or over increased by 68 percent in urban areas, compared to a 25 percent increase in rural areas. Thus, the share of older persons in the total population is increasing virtually everywhere.
Men will begin to catch up
Up to this point, women have outlived men by an average of 4.5 years. However, in the coming years, the average survival of males is expected to improve. By 2050, the proportion of women age 80 years or over is projected to decline to 58 percent from 61 percent.
Developing countries aging faster
Populations are aging in many developing countries considerably faster than they did in developed countries in the past. Consequently, today's developing countries have an urgent need to adapt much more quickly to aging populations---often with fewer resources.
Wildcards that could affect outcomes
Any discussion of aging populations would not be complete without addressing the possibility of wildcards. A wildcard is an unexpected occurrence, natural or man-made, that has a significant effect on people and systems. A few of the wildcards that could have an impact on the aging of populations are 1) a major uncontained virus outbreak, 2) a financial collapse that eliminates the financial resources for aging populations, or 3) a series of catastrophic weather events that affect areas of concentrations of older populations.
Markets will be affected
Marketers of goods and services, and especially those in hospitality and transportation, have the most to gain from capitalizing on these aging populations. Look for subsequent Herman Trend Alerts to address the effects of aging populations on media and markets.
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