Much has been written about the aging population and the demographic challenges that the U.S. will face, but it is not only the U.S. that will need to deal with these issues.  The following are some recent facts and events regarding the aging global population.   We currently don’t have enough intelligence to offer a new context, but we hope you find observations interesting and that they raises some questions.


Aging Global Population and Older Parents

  • In 1980, median age of the world was 23.  According to the UN, by 2050 it will be 38.  In 1970, about half of the world’s population was younger than 20.  In 2011, that it was a little more than one-third of the population.  The number of people older than 65 increased from 5 percent to 9 percent between 1970 and 2011.
  • Fertility has fallen below replacement rates in the majority of the 224 countries from which the UN collects data.
  • China in 2010 had just 11.3 people over 65 for every 100 people in the working age population, less than half of Britain’s 25.1 and the U.S.’s 19.9.  The UN estimates that by 2045, China will be at 39, almost the same as Britain and above the 34.6 forecast for the U.S.
  • American first time mothers have aged about 4 years since 1970 (25.4 from 21.4).  College educated women have a 1-in-3 chance of having first child at 30 or older.  The average age of American man when he becomes a father is between 27 and 28.


Potential implication: Countries will need to change immigration policies and aggressively pursue immigrants.

Potential implication: Resource demand will potentially plateau or decline


Economic effects on older Americans 

  • Americans in their 50s and 60s have lost the most earnings power of any group, with household incomes 10 percent below what they made when the recovery began.
  • Over the last year, the average duration of unemployment for older workers was 53 weeks, compared to 19 weeks for teens.
  • Just one in six older workers who were laid off during the recession had found another job and half of that group had accepted pay cuts.  Fourteen percent said the new job paid less than half of previous job.
  • More than one in every eight  people in late 50s is now on some form of disability.
  • Prescriptions for patients 65 and older declined 3.1 percent in 2011.


Potential implication: Safety nets will be tested (and needed) more than ever before.

Potential implications:  Those that are older and out of work will cut back on everything.


Work longer

  • Number of workers 75 and older has increased by 76.7 percent in the past 2 decades.  They were 7.6 percent of the workforce last year, up from 4.3 percent in 1990.
  • 30 percent of Americans now plan to work until 80 or older, up 25 percent from A YEAR AGO in a survey of adults with incomes less than $100,000.
  • Respondents in a recent survey said they will need a median of $300,000 in savings to support themselves in retirement, the average amount currently saved is only $25,000.  Fidelity claims that medical bills alone through retirement will cost $240,000 per couple in retirement.
  • As of 2011, more than 36 percent of employees at state level and more than 35 percent at the local level were over age 50.


Potential Implication: Harder for Millennials to get into the work force and when they do, there will be a knowledge gap.

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