Future Predictions - Demographics
Highlights by David Willden
The National Intelligence Council (NIC) is responsible for generating the
"Global Trends" report. The reports are updated every four years and are used by
the White House, Intelligence Community, and other government entities for
planning purposes. In creating the report, NIC conducts several conferences, workshops and one-on-one meetings with thought leaders, scholars,
think tanks, businesses and government institutions throughout the world,
By 2030, NIC believes the world’s population will be around 8.3 billion people. Today's population (2013) is 7 billion.
It is anticipated that people will live longer, there will be demands for skilled and unskilled labor that will motivate people to move into the cities, and there will be a strain on food and water.
By 2030, people will live longer that we believe today is possible. The median age of OECD countries will be 43 years old. Countries with higher proportions of seniors will have slower GDP growths. There will be changes to retirement and health-care programs to try and contain costs. However, efforts to reduce benefits will lead to backlashes. This will force governments to increase taxes and to reduce discretionary programs. Additionally, countries may reduce their military expenditures.
Today over 80 countries have a median ages of 25. Around 80% of civil and ethnic conflicts originate in countries with youthful populations. By 2030, the youthful countries will be the Sub-Saharan Africa, portions of the Middle East, and Bolivia, East Timor, Guatemala, Haiti, Papua New Guiana and the Solomon Islands.
International migration will increase. Tens of millions of people will likely migrate from poor countries to middle and high-income countries.
There are both positive and negative impacts from migration. On the positive side, migration can help to reduce the stark economic differences between countries. Unfortunately, migration can be the result of poor governance and economic failure.
Developed or emerging countries with aging populations will be eager to recruit young talent. This talent will be more inclined to live in other countries. In an effort to recruit international talent, the need for standard benefit, pension and social programs will become more apparent.
An important concern with migration is how it can hurt the economic outlook of countries when skilled and highly educated people want to leave. In African, Central American and Caribbean countries over 30 percent of skilled workers are leaving for better opportunities overseas.
Today approximately 50% of the world's populations live in cities. Internal migration or "urbanization" will increase as people move into the cities seeking economic opportunities. Internal migration will likely grow to 60% by 2030. In other words, the number of people living in the cities will grow from 3.5 billion to 4.9 billion by 2030.
Urban areas will grow faster than the large city centers themselves. Big cities are already struggling with traffic, infrastructure, heath and sanitation issues. Areas just outside of city centers offer cheaper land. These metropolitan regions will continue to expand and become mega-regions. By 2030, it is estimated there will be "over 40 large bi-national and tri-national metro regions."
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Future Predictions - Demographics