Population trends pose development challenges

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Just 2% of global population gain in 2016-40 will be in advanced countries; 56% will be in Africa and the Middle East


  • Pew Research Centre estimates the Muslim population will equal the number of Christians by 2060, potentially changing consumer patterns.
  • Research shows the sperm count of Western men fell 59% from 1973-2011; the trend of emerging markets outpopulating the West will intensify.
  • The Institute of Health Equity showed this month that UK life expectancy gains have stopped since 2010; post-crisis austerity is a reason.
  • Technology and democracy give young populations a louder voice to campaign for resources; social unrest and populist voting may increase.


By 2040, the population of Africa and the Middle East will increase by 975 million. The rest of the world will increase by 769 million. Migration may intensify. All regions will face pressure to provide jobs, housing, infrastructure and social security.

In developed economies, technology will continue its advance, but productivity and goods trade are likely to remain weaker than before the 2008 crisis. In 1992, those economies accounted for nearly two-thirds of world GDP; that may drop to one-third by 2040.

Emerging Asia’s share of GDP has risen to 32% from 13% in 1992, thanks to the growth of China. Competition will check the pace, though it is still expected to approach 45% by 2040.


See PROSPECTS H2 2017: Global economy - June 1, 2017

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