Opportunities in Age

I’ve been thinking a lot about aging lately. Perhaps it’s because I’ll soon hit the half century mark, in August.

But this latest news summary from the Bizjournals syndicate further highlighted the enormous business opportunities in aging. Here are a few gems from the article:

  • The world’s 65-and-older population is projected to triple by mid-century, from 516 million in 2009 to 1.53 billion in 2050, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • In contrast, the population under 15 is expected to increase by only 6 percent during the same period, from 1.83 billion to 1.93 billion.
  • The Census Bureau said that in the United States those 65 and older will more than double by 2050, rising from 39 million today to 89 million. While children are projected to still outnumber the older population worldwide in 2050, the under 15 population in the United States is expected to fall below the older population by that date, increasing from 62 million today to 85 million.
  • Europe likely will continue to be the oldest region in the world: by 2050, 29 percent of its total population is projected to be 65 and older. On the other hand, sub-Saharan Africa is expected to remain the youngest region as a result of relatively higher fertility and, in some nations, the impact of HIV/AIDS. Only 5 percent of Africa’s population is projected to be 65 and older in 2050.
  • There are four countries with 20 percent or more of their population 65 and older: Germany, Italy, Japan and Monaco. By 2030, 55 countries are expected to have at least one-in-five of their total population in this age category; by 2050, the number of countries could rise to more than 100.
  • Although China and India are the world’s most populous countries, their older populations do not represent large percentages of their total populations today. However, these countries do have the largest number of older people — 109 million and 62 million, respectively. Both countries are projected to undergo more rapid aging, and by 2050, will have about 350 million and 240 million people 65 and older, respectively.

I’m smiling as I write this, because yesterday, at a breakfast I attended, a guest in the audience stood during the introductions and said, “Hi, my name is [John Doe] and I work as a statistician at the Texas Education Agency, so I know that 95% of all statistics are made up on the spot.”

Nevertheless, I don’t know about you, but I find data like that from the Census fascinating. It reminds me of another article on demographics that I still consider a landmark opus on the subject in recent years by the dean of american management, Peter Drucker. Written for The Economist, “The Next Society” – which later became a book – is still an amazing intellectual achievement, although Drucker himself would probably have said that it’s all there in front of us.

In coming posts, I’ll talk more about what opportunities I’ve been mulling that I think we’ will see and hear more about in the coming years…so stay tuned!

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