By 2100, 8 million could be over 100 years old

The 2012 review of the UN’s World Population Prospects was released in August this year.

World Population Prospects 2012 (pdf – 3.53Mb)

Charts are still – presumably – being prepared since the interactive charts from the 2010 review are no longer available on the UN site and have not yet been replaced by new charts.

The basic picture is still of fertility rates decreasing steadily with the medium scenario giving a world population stabilising at about 10.8 billion around 2100. Chinese population is just about at its peak and will now be reducing till 2100. Indian population will reach its peak around 2060 and then start declining. African population will reach its peak only around 2100.

WPP12 Fertlity

WPP12 Fertlity

There is a massive amount of data and projections, and the interesting thing about demographic forecasts done on this scale is that the “inertia” is high. Consequently much of the “forecast” is inevitable and the key parameter is the fertility rate. In 1953, 99.9% of the world population exhibited a fertility rate greater than 2.1 children per woman (the static population replenishment rate). Now in 2013, 49% of the world’s population have a fertility rate lower than 2.1. Half the world’s population is already shrinking. By 2100 this will be 81% and the world population as a whole will be shrinking.

A significant proportion of those under ten years old today will still be around in 2100. Today about 20% of the world population is under 10 years old ( approximately 1,400 million). In 2100 around 8% of 10.8 billion will be over 80 years old. Assuming that say 3% are older than 87 years, it would mean that 320 million (or 23% of those under 10 or about 5% of everybody) living today will still be around in 2100. Today about 14% of the world’s population is over 60 and about 2% are over 80. By 2100, 35% will be over 60 and about 8% over 80 years old. The 950 million over 60 today will become 3,800 million by 2100.

More than 800 million people will be over 80 and I would estimate that around 1% of these  – or 8 million – could be over 100 years old!

Bloomberg (2012)Unicharm Corp.’s sales of adult diapers in Japan exceeded those for babies for the first time last year.

Just the demographics is changing the make up of the world and its genetic mix.

WPP12 population mix

WPP12 population mix

The human genetic pool in 2100 will be geographically placed 40% in Africa, 40% in Asia with the remaining 20% spread between The Americas, Oceania and Europe. And while there will be some migration and genetic mixing, this basic distribution will be maintained. Moreover, fertility rates will be stable and close to (even if just under) 2.1 in all regions. Median age is also on the way up world-wide.

WPP12 median age

WPP12 median age

Life expectancy is rising across the world:

The twentieth century witnessed the most rapid decline in mortality in human history. In 1950-1955, life expectancy at the world level was 47 years and it had reached 69 years by 2005-2010. Over the next 40 years, life expectancy at birth at the global level is expected to reach 76 years in 2045-2050 and 82 years in 2095-2100 (table III.1 and figure III.1). The more developed regions already had a high expectation of life in 1950-1955 (64.7 years) and have since experienced further gains in longevity. By 2005-2010 their life expectancy stood at 76.9 years, 10 years higher than in the less developed regions where the expectation of life at birth was 67.0 years. Although the gap between the two groups is expected to narrow between 2005 and mid-century, in 2045-2050 the more developed regions are still expected to have considerably higher life expectancy at birth than the less developed regions (82.8 years versus 74.8 years). Throughout 2010-2100, systematic progress against mortality is further expected to increase life expectancy at birth up to 88.9 years in the more developed regions and 80.8 years in the less developed regions thereby further reducing the gap in mortality between the two groups.

What occurs to me also is that famine, disease, war and the effects of natural catastrophes are becoming less and less relevant demographically. But I shall return to that subject in another post.

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One Response to “By 2100, 8 million could be over 100 years old”

  1. China relaxes highly successful one-child policy | The k2p blog Says:

    […] chart below is based on an analysis of the World Population Prospects 2010 and not on the latest 2012 projections. However the numbers and trends and largely the […]

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