It’s an Aging World: World’s older population is growing
The world’s older population continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. While in 2012, 8.0% (562 million) were aged 65 years and above, this number increased to 8.5% (617 million) in 2015. And, as per a new report, An Aging World: 2015 International Population Reports, this percentage is projected to increase to almost 17% of the global population by the year 2050 (1.6 billion).
Some salient features of the report are:
· America’s 65-and-over population is projected to nearly double over the next three decades, from 48 million to 88 million by 2050.
· The growth of the older population will continue to surpass that of the younger population.
· By 2050, global life expectancy at birth is projected to increase by almost 8 years, climbing from 68.6 years in 2015 to 76.2 years in 2050.
· The global population of the “oldest old” i.e. people aged 80 and older is expected to grow more than 3-folds between 2015 and 2050, growing from 126.5 million to 446.6 million.
· Africa is exceptionally young in 2015 and will remain so in the foreseeable future
· The world’s oldest countries are in Europe, but some Asian and Latin American countries are quickly catching up where the older population is predicted to quadruple by 2050.
· Among the older population worldwide, noncommunicable diseases are the main health concern. In low-income countries, many in Africa, the older population faces a considerable burden from both noncommunicable and communicable diseases.
· Risk factors such as tobacco and alcohol use, insufficient consumption of vegetables and fruit, and low levels of physical activity — directly or indirectly contribute to the global burden of disease. Changes in risk factors have been observed, such as a decline in tobacco use in some high-income countries, with the majority of smokers worldwide now living in low- and middle-income countries.
The report also says that the total population of China in 2015 was 1.4 billion, with India closing in on its heels at 1.3 billion. By the year 2025, the population of India may overtake that of China making it the most populous country in the world.
In 2015, the older population in China was 10.1% of its total population, while the corresponding figure in India was only 6.0%. By 2030, 8.8% (128.9 million) of India’s population will be aged 65 and older, whereas this percentage would be 17.2% (128.9 million). By 2050, it is projected that China will have 100 million more older people than India, 348.8 million vs 243.4 million, even though the total population of China would be less than that of India.
(Source: Wan He, et al. U.S. Census Bureau, International Population Reports, P95/16-1, An Aging World: 2015, March 2016)