Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Global Demographic Trends - Introduction

Demography and demographic trends are critical to longer term management, yet still poorly understood.

Take, as an example, the projected growth in the world population from 6.6 billion in 2007 to 9.4 billion in 2050. 2.8 billion is a large absolute increase at any time, larger still when we take into account the forecast effects of climate change on food production as well as resource usage. Among other things, this has implications for the profitability of food production.

While world populations continue to grow, the world population is also aging. This effect varies from country to country. Some countries will continue to grow in population terms, others are projected to contract. While this is well known, the actual implications are less well understood.

Take, as one simple example, the youth focus still built into much marketing. In many countries the dollar value of the younger marketplace is stagnant. It is the older age cohorts that are growing in absolute numbers and in dollar value terms. There have been some subtle market shifts that reflect this, an example is the increasing presence of older people on TV, but there is still an overall youth focus.

Take, as a second example, changes in relative power associated with population shifts.

Today Japan has 127 million people and is the tenth most populous country in the world. By 2050, the Japanese population is projected to fall to 88 million, its ranking to seventeenth. What does this mean for the structure of the Japanese economy, for Japan's place in the world?

In coming posts we plan to explore some of these issues. The posts will not be rigorous in an academic sense. Our aim is to stimulate issues, to point to things that need to be considered.

Note on Sources

Data in this series is drawn from a variety of sources including:

Source information will be updated as the series develops.

Posts in the Series

2 comments:

Yours secret admirer said...

Dear Jim

I'd be interested in hearing of any additional examples or sources you have to support your statement "In many countries the dollar value of the younger marketplace is stagnant. It is the older age cohorts that are growing in absolute numbers and in dollar value terms."

Jim Belshaw said...

Hi, SA. Will come back to you tonight on this one. Jim