The world is a big place and it is full of a lot of people. A lot, a lot of people. Nearly 7.3 billion people to be precise. And this number is only growing. In fact, this number is set to grow to nearly 11 billion by the year 2100. This is a growth rate of over 50%!! Truly a huge number. So how is this happening, and what could this mean for us?
This massive population growth is largely contributed to two distinct factors: a reduction in child mortality rates, and the rise in life expectancy. This means a higher percentage of people are surviving through the fragile years at the beginning of a human life, and more importantly they are staying alive even longer.
By 2050 it is expected that the number of individuals 80 and older is going to more than triple, and by 2100 it could be almost seven times as large as it is now. This shows how truly miraculous modern medicine is. However this is not without consequences. Growth like this is usually seen in developed nations, which also have lower birth rates then underdeveloped nations. In said developed nations like America, this creates an inverted population pyramid with the wide part (the over 80 population) on top and the narrow part (newborns) on the bottom. It doesn’t take a brilliant architect to see that this might be a fragile structure.
Lucky for us (the population of the world) the brilliant people at The UN of Social Economic and Social Affairs (Population Division) are able to see these changes coming and allow us to prepare for them. This may mean improving elderly care and support. This could become an emerging market with a chance for job growth.
This is all occurring far in the future, but it is fascinating information to look at, and it is important we prepare for any eventuality.