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Silver Tsunami: Ageing Populations UN Predictions

1 year, 9 months ago

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Posted on Aug 29, 2018, 2 a.m.

Global population is exponential, uneven growth can have disastrous consequences if we are not prepared for it. Humanity has grown to 7.9 billion in 2013 and is expected to reach 8.5 billion by 2030, 9.6 billion by 2050, and 11.2 billion by 2100; with most of the growth coming from India, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Nigeria, USA, and Indonesia.

Longer lifespans are fueling the growth rather than fertility; global population growth peaked in the 1960s and has been dropping since the 1970s. Currently the growth rate is 1.18% per year, that number was 1.24% 10 years ago. It seems populations have slowed down to a trickle in developed countries. This is partially due to it becoming too expensive to have a child for a significantly large segment of the populace, overall fertility has been dropping globally according to the researchers.

The ageing baby boomer generation in enormous, public health officials warn of the oncoming Silver Tsunami. Globally individuals aged 60+ are expected to double by 2050, and triple by 2100. As workers age there are fewer younger workers around to replace them, which means less taxpayers for Medicare and abroad for socialized medicine. 34% of the population in Europe is projected to be 60+ by 2050, the population for Europe is predicted to fall 14% and is already showing signs of struggling, as is Japan, to care for the ageing populations. Total costs and effects of Alzheimer’s disease is expected to bankrupt Medicare within the USA alone if no cure is found and the program stays the same.

Most of the projected growth will come from developing countries according to the U.N. report made possible by 233 countries providing demographic data and population censuses. Over half projected growth is to come from Africa the financially poorest continent that is already showing signs of resources being under pressure. Population in developed countries is projected to remain unchanged holding at 1.3 billion. Brazil, South Africa, India, Indonesia, and China are seeing declines in average number of children per woman which is predicted to continue. China is thought of as the most populous nation, but India is set to reach them by 2022 when both nations will contain 1.45 billion citizens; after which India is predicted to surpass China, with India continuing to grow and China continuing to decline.

Life expectancy is predicted to increase globally in developing and developed nations and will likely be on average 76 years in the period of 2045-2050, which should reach 82 by 2095-2100. Closer to the end of the century developing nations may have life expectancies of 81, and developed nations 89 as the norm. There are some concerns that the global population will suffer even more than today due to this phenomenon.

Concentration of population growth in poorest countries has its own set of issues, making it difficult to eradicate poverty, inequality, hunger, malnutrition, and to expand health systems and educational enrollment according to John Wilmoth. Resource depletion is another issue which are predict to become scarce in several regions of the world. Water use is expected to increase by 70-90% by mid century without improved farming methods and smarter use; water may well become the next oil in terms of driving nation into violent conflict. Wars are often fought over resources, the world’s water is already showing signs of strain; China and India for example have already fought 2 wars over water claims. Climate change will most likely consume more arable land and contribute to food scarcity as well as biodiversity which is likely to occur at faster rates. UN researchers suggest nations should invest in reproductive health and family planning especially in developing nations to help keep the world population under control.

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