The world ruled by seniors: 3.4 adults for every child in 2100


Births will be stagnated in the coming decades at the same time that life expectancy will grow: the average age of the population, which currently is 30 years old, will stand at 41 at the end of the century.

As the century goes on, the population pyramid will take a rectangle shape. The latest demographic estimates until 2100 indicate that the birth number will be the same as the current one, but the rise in the life expectancy due to the improvement of the public health will extend to the maximum the area of the pyramid that groups working-age people and those older than 65.

The latest estimates by the United Nations point that the population in 2018 stood at 7.61 billion inhabitants and that in 2100 the figure will reach 11.2 billion people. However, according to data from the Our World in Data platform, the growth will not be driven by a gradual increase in all the age groups of the pyramid as it has been happening between 1950 and the present.

The pyramid of the population will disproportionately broaden throughout the 21st century. The tip, where births are recorded, will be extended due to the decrease in child mortality, but not due to the increase in the number of births. Although between 1950 and 2019 births have risen from 97 million to 143 million, the figure is not expected to grow anymore, but to remain stable. The average age of the population, which in 1950 was 23.6 years, will be 41.6 years in 2100. Currently, it stands around the thirties.

The outlooks even indicate that, compared to the present, in 2100 fewer children will be born. Despite the fact, these children will live longer, as improvements in health advance. This new scenario radically changes the proportions of the classification scheme of the population. In this regard, in 1950 for every child under fifteen there were 1.8 people of working age (between 15 and 64 years old). In 2019, this ratio increased up to 2.5 people of working age for each child under fifteen years. By 2100, the forecasts estimate it will reach at 3.4 people.

The main social challenges involved in this paradigm shift focus on ensuring the production of the necessary resources to maintain a population of 11.2 billion people, and to sustain a pension system in a scenario in which the group made of people over 65 years old keeps increasing. According to Our World in Data, in the coming years, advanced economies will be the ones that will concentrate most of the issues related, while developing countries will still be able to get profit from it.

Currently, according to the United Nations, 60% of the world population lives in Asia, 16% in Africa, 10% in Europe, 9% in Latin America and the Caribbean and the remaining 5% in North America and Oceania. China, with 1,400 million inhabitants, and India, with 1,300 million, continue to be the countries with the largest population and represent 19% and 18% of the world population, respectively.

However, it is estimated that more than half the demographic growth until 2050 will take place in Africa. In recent years, the continent has registered the highest rate of demographic growth and it is expected to follow such trend, even if fertility levels are reduced in the coming years. On the other hand, outlooks for Europe point to a decrease of its population with a fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman, below that necessary to guarantee the replacement of the population in the long term.

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