When considering the impact of an ageing population, where more elderly people depend on a shrinking workforce, the go-to country is Japan, where a quarter of the population was 65 and older back in 2013. This is helpful – but not the full picture. The NYT has visualised the future of global demographic shifts as more countries reach record old-age populations. By 2050, 65 and overs will make up nearly 40 per cent of the population in some parts of East Asia and Europe – almost twice the share of older adults in Florida, a well-known retirees-playground. No country in recorded history has ever been as old as these countries are predicted to get. At the same time the working-age population in countries in Africa, the Middle East, South and South-East Asia will boom, giving them the chance to challenge current major powers’ share of economic growth. Kenya is becoming demographically similar to South Korea in the 1970s, when its economy began to rise. But these shifts aren’t a guarantee that countries will flourish – Kenya is currently in the midst of riots over skyrocketing living costs and government tax hikes. Good government policy is required for countries to take full advantage of the inevitable shifts – and for current powers to mitigate against them.
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