Demographic Doldrums: Visualizing 100 Years Of The Most Populous Countries

Tyler Durden's picture

Submityted by Jeff Desjardins vai The Visual Capitalist,

“I think ageing demographics is a bigger issue in China than people think. And the problems it creates should be become evident as early as 2016.” – Stan Druckenmiller, a 2013 quote

Over the last year, we’ve been very skeptical of the near-term potential for robust global economic growth.

The media narrative throughout 2015 was that U.S. rates were on the rise, and that the American economy would finally normalize post-crisis. Stock and real estate prices reached record highs on this optimism, and many pundits expected growth and interest rates to return to more traditional levels.

Over the last few months, we’ve noticed that this narrative has changed significantly. Even though the U.S. is doing “okay” for growth, the global economy is now more entwined than ever. It’s more challenging than ever before for one economy to prop up the rest during stagnation.

Markets this year got off to their worst-ever start after jitters from China rippled through international markets. Oil has continued its plunge and is now trading near $30/bbl. Manufacturing is slowing in the United States. Europe and Japan are going nowhere, and the amount of global debt is starting to signal alarm bells.

Finally, media and investors are accepting the idea that things may not normalize the way they “should”. Instead, the question has become more fundamental: are there even any bright spots in the first place?

A major drive of this un-growth is demographics, or the changing composition of population over time.

Today’s animation, which covers the change in populations over 100 years for the most populous countries, is a starting place for this.


Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist


The first point of interest is that by about the year 2000, all European countries dropped out of the rankings. At the beginning of the animation, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Italy were all there. Birth rates have declined to the lowest in the world, which establishes immigration as the only potential option for economic growth. With the recent events in Paris and the current backlash against Middle Eastern immigrants, this Catch-22 becomes even more interesting and important.

Germany, in particular, faces a crucial demographic cliff. We aim to cover this in the very near future, since the country is an important engine for Europe.

Another major point of interest, as we referenced in the opening quote, is the changing demographics of China. In the next decade or so, China’s population will stop growing altogether – and then it will start shrinking. This is the predictable aftermath of China’s one-child policy for many decades. The country still has a giant portion of the population that will continue to move up the ladder economically, but we will be looking at what these circumstances could mean as they loom closer.

Lastly, the rise of India and Nigeria can’t be understated in importance. Both are home to the fastest growing cities in the world. Nigeria will pass the U.S. to become the third largest country in the world by population in the coming decades, and India could be the world’s next China.

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Platinum's picture

Just what the world needs in 2060: 500 million Nigerian Billionaires that will reward me handsomely if I hand over my banking info so they can deposit my funds into the account.

Dickweed Wang's picture

Just what the world needs in 2060: 1.5 BILLION help line techs from India named "Dave".

SuperRay's picture

Daddy, mumu said that once there were people with white skin who ruled the world.  is that true?

stacking12321's picture

estimated usa population, year 2025: 65 million

i won't be too surprised if it turns out to be true.

MiddleLeg's picture

just what the world needs in 2025: 65 million obese morons.

cheka's picture

nyc/dc is stealing these prizes at a high rate

competition for breakfast burritos and yard service is/will be fierce for as far as the eye can see

the p-ssy aint bad either

johnconnor's picture

and half of them take a shit on the street... I repeat, half of Indians take a shit on the street.

Isn't globalization great?

Dickweed Wang's picture

and half of them take a shit on the street... I repeat, half of Indians take a shit on the street


What do you expect from a country where the people let cows run wild down the sidewalks and streets?  You can bet if the people are shitting in the streets that NO ONE is cleaning up all of the bull shit laying around.  Bet that place smells just lovely!!

Troglodyte Erudite's picture

It was a warm day as I gazed out the window one afternoon. The air became filled with tiny gossamer wings sparkling in the noonday sun. I went outside to marvel at this wonder and saw the source of the swarm. An old rotting stump was covered in the tiny winged creatures. Their home was no longer a secure place to live. I opened my windows and doors to give refuge to these tiny creatures. I could shelter them. Provide a secure living space - after all my house was large.
That was many years ago. The tiny creatures I graciously took in were no problem at first. I hardy ever saw them. Now my once beautiful home is collapsing. My little refugees I thought I was helping have helped themselves to home. They have eaten away at the structure from the inside out. My house is now in ruin. Where did I I go wrong?

Ms No's picture

If people are shitting in the streets the bull shit laying around may seem like a blessing.    People probably rub it under their nose like a coronor using a nasal preparation rub to overpower the smell of a corpse.  Most creatures have an aversion to their own excrement for a reason.  People are not meant to live in their own filth.  Indians must have amazing immune systems.

Quality of life matters and being packed on top of each other in filth is no way to live.  Being poor is one thing but scrubbing your one pair of underwear on a rock in a sewage filled river where half a million dudes scrubbed skidmarks off of their underwear an hour earlier reminds one that there are worse things than death.   

stacking12321's picture

a while back someone posted a link, el vaquero i think it was, to a series of photos with the marvels of the ganges river in india and how you can often find human corpses floating in it. and if the corpses are reasonably fresh, maybe a dog pulling some meat off those bones.

stacking12321's picture

ok now you made me want to find the link again so i googled to find it, here it is:

warning! do not view these photos if you've just had a large meal.

they dont just bathe in the sacred river of their ancestors, they bathe in the sacred river *with* their ancestors

*edit*: hey you edited your post with the right link just as i replied to it. ok i guess you win!

Ms No's picture

Same thing with the canals in Mexico city.  They pay guys to pull bodies and large objects out as the rivers of filth run toward the Gulf.  They have so much solid sewage there that they stack it up in mountains and let it dry (for food production).  Then the particles blow everywhere which is probably why you can hardly avoid getting sick there.

Kiwi Pete's picture

I travelled around India for 6 weeks and only came across shitting in the streets once. In a poor part of a poor city the houses were on one side of the street and the toilet on the other. Not a bad solution if you don't have a sewage system but you do have a space program.

cheech_wizard's picture

When I did a brief stint with AT&T I did manage to get through to "Elvis" more than once.

Standard Disclaimer: True story.

ultraticum's picture

They're busy in Nigeria!

tmosley's picture

If this oil shock continues much longer, I would expect that population to fall due to civil war and the associated horsemen that follow.

Redneck Hippy's picture

Don't worry.  Merkel will have the welcome mat as all those Nigerians move north.

Haole's picture

They're fucking like rabbits as we type.

Bye-bye cracka' (of which I am one).

Dickweed Wang's picture

and India could be the world’s next China.


Let's cram 2 BILLION people into a land mass 1/2 the size of China and see how that works out.  Can anyone say "poor, starving, masses"?

johnconnor's picture

I'd bet that the Muzzi India, Pakistan, will start a nuclear war with India before they get to 2 billion... 

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Did anyone go to the Visual Capitalist site and notice the article about the yuuuuge amount of commodities that China consumes?

Someone in the MSM needs to ask/aks* Obama about the Green Credits that China isn't creating, and the endless pollutants that they are creating.


* depending on your demograohic preference of pronounciation

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Resources and microbes will eventually balance things out. Though not pleasantly.


FrankDrakman's picture

Yes, as the chinese continue to pump their livestock full of antibiotics, the new drug-resistant strains of disease develop apace. 

100 years ago, the Spanish flu took 50,000,000 lives. Wonder what the next superbug will achieve?

Jethro's picture

I didn't understand either until I read the Bhagvad Gita and some of the Mahabharata.  You have to have a son, or all of your ancestors are condemned to a kind of hell.  It's more or less just turned into a cultural, rather than a religious deal, but still incredibly important.  There just isn't as much value placed on female offspring.  If abortions were widely available, and cheap.. hardly any females would be born in India.

 I met a dude one time that was telling us about his planned family, and he invited us over.  We were amazed, as this was in a tiny village.  We went over to his house, and met his 8 daughters and one son.  LOL!

OldPhart's picture

Can anyone say massive resource wars?  National wars of invasion?

bluskyes's picture

Chinese seem to have more discipline than Indians to me. China seems to have corruption, while India seems to be corruption. My aunt regailed me with some stories after she went there to set up a business. She found out Singapore, and Taiwan were much better places to do business.

ToSoft4Truth's picture

This is interesting.  The UK may seal off the island again. 


froze25's picture

Doubtful, that would imply sanity in the UK Government,  I will believe that they are serious if deportation starts.

cynicalskeptic's picture

In a world with finite resources, continual GROWTH is impossible.  

With an increasing world population and increased demand for higher 'average' living standards worldwide, this can be accomplished only by LOWERING the living standards of the most affluent.  Does anyone think the 'haves' arae going to be all that keen to give up their living standard to improve the living standard of others?   

Like it or not at some point the world will need to DECREASE its population (we're probably well past the optimal level already).   I suspect those in positions of power know this.  I also suspect we'll see a major pandemic or World War in an effort to accomplish this. 

Just glad I'm near the end of my life.  My kids are screwed.

The continual need for GROWTH is one of the fundamental flaws in the world's fiat money system.  You need GROWTH to pay the continually increasing interst assiciated with money creation.  Debt as 'Money' is fatally flawed.   The need for more and more and the growing total debt mean that what 'money' that does exist will end up buying less and less until it is worthless.

nofluer's picture

-Like it or not at some point the world will need to DECREASE its population (we're probably well past the optimal level already).-

People have been saying that for decades!!! (And before that, they didn't even consider the possibility)

"Anticipated advances in biotechnology and sustainable land management in combination with the availability of high quality lands suggests a level of food production that will sustain twice the current global population"

InvalidID's picture

Most of which will be destroyed because we can't just give the shit away. There will still be starving masses, just more of them.

Marco's picture

All dependent on massive international redistribution of wealth, fertilizer and fuel.

When that breaks down, shit hits the fan.

Kiwi Pete's picture

We don't live in a world with finite resources so continual growth is possible. Soon we will start to mine the astroids. We will all drive electrc cars before the oil becomes scarce. We will get more eficient at collecting power from the sun, wind, geothermal and waves. The ITER fusion reactor wil probably work ( and then we'll have fusion energy too. Cheer up!

WOAR's picture

Where will they drive those electric cars to? Work?
By the time we get fusion reactors, there won't be anyone left who NEEDS them.
MSimon's picture

In a world with finite resources, continual GROWTH is impossible.


Well yea. But if things are made smaller (transistors vs tubes say) growth can continue for quite some time.

Ms No's picture

Any system that requires people to breed like roaches perpetually is quite clearly a poor system.  I wouldn't mind visiting India and I think they are an amazing culture but I would eat my fist off before I would live like many of them do. 

Come on everybody lets go scrub our underwear on a rock and bathe in the Ganges together.  I just puked in my mouth a little bit.


BeanusCountus's picture

Barbecue sauce goes good with fist. Right on target with the need to breed being a crappy foundation. Still cant understand how Japan has avoided collapse for so long with their demo problem. Only way I will believe in this theory is if they collapse soon.

38BWD22's picture



My wife and I took a tour of India (and Nepal) a bit over a month ago.  It is poor and polluted.

What resonated with me (in your comment) was the Ganges.  It is beyond filthy, I did not even want a drop of it to even touch me.

Oh, and another time I did puke in my mouth a little bit.  Even on a luxury tour, 60% of us got sick to one degree or other.

India is very interesting, but it is not an easy trip.

stacking12321's picture

thanks for the comment, dochen.

i've always wanted to go to india.

you may have just cured me of that desire.

are there parts of india that are more modernized and higher standards of cleanliness?

janus's picture

parts of goa & bombay...from what i hear.

bagehot99's picture

I was there in 1995. It was amazing, and the poverty is impossible (literally) for any American to imagine. Everybody got gastric something, and many (such as moi) still suffered six months after returning to England. 

But it's beautiful, and the people are mostly peaceful and nonviolent. They have almost recovered from Indira Ghandi's Marxism, although numerous socialists have managed to convince the hordes of poor people to vote for them since. Promising free stuff to people who have almost nothing is a powerful political message, even as history shows the absolutely cynical, brute dishonesty of it all.

zvzzt's picture

India is seriously beautiful and overall friendly people. What I do not understand at all is the amount of filth. I've been to quite a few poor countries such as Vietnam, Cuba, Laos and the poor parts of Papua, but no one is as filthy (or rather - lacking any measure of knowledge of sanitation) as the Indians. With so many people, why don't they understand the importance? I simply cannot understand that. I mean, not even a todller shits where he/she eats and plays. 

Once but never again - unfortunately. 

Tejano's picture

I have to wonder if this nifty graph is based solely on birth rates of current populations. If it does not consider migration, it may underestimate the future population of area like Europe and the US. Bring in a few million very fecund Africans, Pakis, Arabs or Mex/Guat/Salvadoran/Hondurans and you'd get different results.

Of course the cultures are shot to hell.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Looks like we should accomodate the needs of the growing population of oppressed people from Nigeria, Bangladesh and Pakistan.  Think of the poor children.

And like we need to 'rebalance' the needs of the privileged whites from Europe.