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The Demographic Future

What Population Growth—and Decline—Means for the Global Economy

Courtesy Reuters

It is already possible to draw a reasonably reliable profile of the world's population in 2030. This is, of course, because the overwhelming majority of those who will inhabit the world 20 years from now are already alive. As a result, one can make some fairly confident estimates of important demographic trends, including manpower availability, the growth in the number of senior citizens, and the resulting support burden on workers.

Overall, it is apparent that the future global economy will not be able to rely on the kind of demographic inputs that helped fuel growth in the era before the current global recession. For today's affluent Western economies, the coming demographic challenge of stagnant and aging populations combined with mounting health and pension claims on a shrinking pool of prospective workers is already generating concern, especially in Europe and Japan. But at the same time, demographic constraints in the rising economies that

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