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September 25, 2015
Continental drift is slow, takes place almost imperceptibly and ends up having dramatic effects in the long run. In this, it is very similar to demographic change. Let us begin with a few facts. The world’s population is set to grow from 7.3 bn today to more than 9.7 bn by 2050. By comparison, the world’s population was a mere 2.5 bn in 1950. The regional (continental) demographic balance has been shifting for quite some time. In 1950, four of the ten largest countries were European (Germany, Italy, USSR, UK). Today, only Russia, ironically the country with the most adverse demographics, ranks among the top-10. In 1950, the big European four made up 10% of the world’s population. This figure has dropped to 5% today and will continue to decline for the foreseeable future. The populations of Africa and Asia will continue to increase significantly – and dramatically so in Africa – over the next few decades (chart). Admittedly, the aggregate increase hides significant intra-regional differences (e.g. East versus South Asia). [more]