6 Charts That Show the Global Demographic Crisis Is Unfolding

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by John Mauldin via MauldinEconomics.com,

The world is undergoing a profound demographic shift that will cause sweeping changes over the next few decades. 

Those changes will broaden the scope of our study of economics and investing; they will alter our understanding of sociology; and they will radically affect politics and governments.

Precisely what these changes will be is difficult to discern and predicting them requires some guesswork, but the one thing we don’t have to guess about is the demographic shift itself. 

Now, let’s begin with the big picture.

The world’s population could reach 14 billion by 2100


Experts think human population could fall to 6 billion or hit 14 billion until the end of this century. The gap is that wide because demographic projections require many assumptions. Small changes can combine to make a dramatic difference over time.

Uncertain future events could also bend the population curve. Baby booms and busts, wars, famines, epidemics, medical breakthroughs, and more are all potential game-changers. 

The late 20th century acceleration in population growth was mainly a result of modern vaccinations. Other technologies could have—and I think will have—similar impacts in the future.

Technology can cut the other way, too. We now have the capacity to wipe out entire nations with nuclear weapons. Some scientists think our excessive antibiotic use will create drug-resistant superbugs that could kill millions. I don’t expect such events, but we can’t rule them out, either.

For now, we are at least reproducing faster than we are dying. The result is a growing global population, which masks another problem.

Populations are shrinking in much of the developed world

If the global population is on the rise, it doesn’t mean it’s growing at the same rate in every country, or even growing at all.

We find the highest growth rates, for example, in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of the Middle East. The lowest growth is in Eastern Europe, Russia, China, and Japan. 

Notice the countries shown in shades of blue below. They are actually shrinking in population.


If you want your nation’s population to grow, you need a higher fertility rate and/or longer life expectancy. Africa has both factors on its side, though fertility rates are beginning to decline there, too.

Lifespans are growing almost everywhere

Falling fertility rates and longer lifespans mean that the global population is getting older. This will bring something remarkable in the next few years: the world will soon have more people over age 65 than it has children under 5.

Source: An Aging World: 2015

You can see in the chart that the elderly population is growing much faster than the child population is shrinking. As our ability to extend lifespans grows, the disparity between these populations will get worse.

Who will support children and the elderly?

The aging population dynamic means we will have fewer younger people supporting a larger number of older people. Don’t forget that children need care, too. So the real problem will be lack of middle-aged people to support both children and the elderly.

Here is another chart from the “Aging World” report:

Source: An Aging World: 2015

For every 100 working-age (20-64) people, there will be almost 80 children and retirees who will require support by 2050. That sounds bad, but notice how little the ratio actually changes from now until then.

The global data, however, doesn’t reveal the real scale of this issue because we haven’t arranged ourselves on the planet in neat, homogeneous groups. 

In fact, most of the children are going to be in Africa and the arc around the Indian Ocean, while most of the retirees will cluster in the developed world and China.

The demographic crisis will hit China first

China’s one-child policy has created an ugly, upside-down pyramid. Each worker in that generation could end up supporting two parents, four grandparents, and perhaps one or more children, too. 

The demographic reality is that the working-age Chinese population almost literally falls off a cliff starting in the next few years.

Here’s a chart that shows working-age numbers in China…


… and another chart showing China as compared to the US, Japan, Ireland, and Spain. 

Notice that China still has a higher percentage of working-age people than the other countries do, but these other countries grew relatively rich before they growing old. China does not have a Social Security program or anything like the safety nets common in the developed world. 

None of this is good news for either China or the rest of the world. The aging of the world’s population is becoming a vast global issue that will affect multiple domains and shape the world in the coming decades. It is already having profound effects on the global economy, and it’s just getting started…

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Stuck on Zero's picture

These charts talk about the "quantity" of the population growth but always omit the "quality" of the population growth.  More and more the population growth is among those incapable of caring for themselves ... let alone for others. That is profoundly disturbing.

Antifaschistische's picture

There's only one demographic statistic that matters.

# of bad people / # of good people

bad = those who steal, those who will hurt others, those who do not want to work, those who will never help another who is in need 

good = opposite of bad

N0TaREALmerican's picture
N0TaREALmerican (not verified) Antifaschistische May 2, 2016 5:03 PM

When have the good people out-numbered the bad-people?

Government needs you to pay taxes's picture

So all that explosive growth in the African population is GOOD!

mvsjcl's picture







Peak Bull's picture

Not that easy, there is the duality of man.

Also, the majority of the elderly may want to retire, not work. They are labeled as bad on your list.

thesonandheir's picture

Don't worry people, your friendly globalist billionaire Soros has a plan to save us from this horrible impending demographic doom by importing half of Africa and the Middle East to a developed economy near you soon!

AGuy's picture

"Don't worry people, your friendly globalist billionaire Soros has a plan to save us"

I think is just Soros' long term plan to crush the EURO like he did with the British Pound. Soros is nearly a real life James Bond movie Villain. I am sure he know that importing low skill, low IQ immgrants is going to Crush western economies. Soros is Evil and Man, but not clueless.


TheRedScourge's picture

He never crushed the British Pound. What happened is that the GDR merged in with West Germany and the terms of the merger were such that tons of money was going to flow in from the other European nations into Germany, and as England was already going through a tough economic time period due to all their past debts driven up in the 70s, things just became too much for them. Soros saw these various reasons why pound collapse was imminent, and put in a big short, which sped it up a bit.

He may be an insane lefty, but he's not stupid when it comes to money.

Young Buckethead's picture

"More and more the population growth is among those incapable of caring for themselves ... let alone for others. That is profoundly disturbing."

Absolutely, SOZ. With the use/forced implementation of greater numbers of vaccines around the world, autism rates are quickly approaching 100% of children. Will a new Ebola vaccine, or Zika vaccine, create large numbers of mentally/physically impaired people around the world also? A good look at the permanent sickness/death rates of US servicepeople receiving large numbers of vaccines before deployment would not be promising.

And to be absolutely un-PC, there is the question of whether autistic people should be mating. I don't know of any research as to whether autism is passed down through the parents, but remember, those kids will be getting massive doses of vaccines, too. I think the number of vaccines a child has in the US before pre-school is 21. That is just too much.

Then you have Fukushima. Japan is soaked in lethal radiation, and increasing by the second - forever. There are other major nuclear problems there, but only adding fuel to a massive fire well underway. Most of Japan will be dead in 20 years, with the rest radsick and dying.

Pacific Asian countries that have a large percentage of Pacific Ocean seafood in their diets are also starting to see similar increases with their unborn and newborn children. The radiation in the ocean will have a severe impact on all Pacific coastal areas/countries.

Then there's North America - the next land mass to absorb the bulk of the fallout from Fukushima. Infant Mortality Rates are skyrocketing, abortions due to fetal mutations are skyrocketing, the signs are all there. Another 50 years, and North America will be in the same boat as Japan in 10. Massive radsickness and death, coupled with a failed healthcare system and no government impetus to provide reasonable hospice to hundreds of millions of people.

The immigrants - those that can - will leave far before this all takes place, once it builds a certain momentum they will realize what they are facing and will go south to avoid it - or at least live a little longer, or to bury their family at home.

Once the nuclear power plants in Europe start going belly up, those immigrants will realize they made a mistake, too. But by then Europe will look like a Middle Eastern country anyway, so they may just choose to die where they live.

Certainly, across North America, we are headed for a near future where the bulk of the population is incapable of maintaining the large number of nuclear power facilities across the land that will be far, far past their expiration dates.

Any demographic article/research without factoring in Fukushima and the NPP's to follow, let alone the explosion of autism, is complete bullshit.

Kurpak's picture

They already solved this problem in the 70s, it's called soylent green.  

The Saint's picture
The Saint (not verified) Jstanley011 May 2, 2016 9:31 PM

30 years of life should be plenty for anyone.  Soylent Green is the new Snicker Bar.

N0TaREALmerican's picture
N0TaREALmerican (not verified) May 2, 2016 3:57 PM

Good luck clawing money back from us old-farts to help-the-children.  

ParkAveFlasher's picture

Gold, young bitchez!  Now gTFO my lawn!

Theonewhoknows's picture
Theonewhoknows (not verified) N0TaREALmerican May 2, 2016 4:04 PM

It is funny how the whole post-WW2 generation having the horrors of life they had chosen guarantees of socialism and social-democracy with ever expanding government to answer their fears. The price will be paid by an uneducated generation of their children mesmerised with iPhones and Instagram believing those who their parents believed.


With statistics so much in the gutter http://independenttrader.org/lies-damned-lies-and-statistics.html we should be bracing for another 2008 http://independenttrader.org/are-we-waiting-for-another-2008.html

DrunkMath's picture

Haha, Luck won't be required, it's called a wealth tax, turning off the social security fire hose, death panels, etc...

Your old fart friends in Washington can only help you for so long....

N0TaREALmerican's picture
N0TaREALmerican (not verified) DrunkMath May 2, 2016 4:14 PM

Re:  wealth tax


A Wealth Tax?    You sound like one-a-them hippy commies who loves Big-Gov and want to give all my hard-earned (TBTF, Big-Ed, and Big-StateGov) loot to the WELFARE QUEENS.   Why don't you get a job you hippy?   And get a hair cut.  

jughead's picture

uh, us old folks remember how to survive without uncle sugar - you, not so much. 


CarpetShag's picture

All these extrapolations are what every other economic "model" is: completely useless. Maudlin is a buffoon.

ClydeCrashcup's picture

The solution here is obvious: the West and the Orient MUST import VAST numbers of immigrants from culturally incompatible nations in order to keep their economic growth on track (because economies must always grow, ALWAYS, ad infinitum).  Ideally, these immigrants will be imported from sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.  Only in this way can prosperity and social order be maintained.

jughead's picture

history dictates that the proper term will be "slave", not immigrant.  

Yen Cross's picture

  I'll bet Ted Williams is rolling over in his frosty hibernation chamber?

WillyGroper's picture

there won't be any elderly for long.

add pthalates to this toxic brew.

https://youtu.be/U-5VnMIiKPY if the big boys with toys don't step in we're truely fkd. never has there been a genocide/biocide on this scale.
bbq on whitehouse lawn's picture

What makes you think a global civil war and the use of thermonuclear weapons will not unfold in the next 10-15 years.
War is what ends the untolerable. Demographics are trends, in the absence of war. But we know there are conditions that cannot hold so we know there will be war.
Wealth will be measured differently in the decades to come. If you live your rich, if your dead your poor.

jughead's picture

The reverse may be closer to the truth of it,

BobRocket's picture

This guy has absolutely no clue as to what he is talking about.

As the originator of this meme (back in 2008 along with the utility of the BlockChain in 09), I do.


Children provide for your old age but are expensive to produce.

If you reduce child mortality you will have fewer children.

You will always be financially better off and can provide a better start to the fewer children you have.

The selfish gene that allowed humans to dominate this planet will in the end be the cause of the population implosion.

By the time the genetic imperative kicks in human populations will be reduced to unsustainable islands, limping on with inbred mutation.


There are only two potential saviours.


1. Get off planet, send a generation of young people out into the ether.

2. Start killing children.


Both of these increase apparent child mortality and so induce breeding.



N0TaREALmerican's picture
N0TaREALmerican (not verified) BobRocket May 2, 2016 4:24 PM

Sounds like a REAL good party platform:  Kill the Children.  

GeezerGeek's picture

Especially if they aren't even born! Yeah, that's the solution: Abortion!

Preferred by death cultists everywhere, or as they're more commonly known, Progressives. Who says that isn't a political platform?

gmak's picture

"Who will support children and the elderly?"


I can't believe the stupidity of this question.  The elderly are responsible for supporting themselves with their savings. To think otherwise is Free Shit Army propoganda.  Children are supported by their parents. If their parents can't support them, somebody dies. 


I know it sounds cruel, but that is a fact of life and math. If you have more kids than you can support, some will die.  If you really believe that someone else is responsible for your support and well being as you age, then you deserve what happens to you. Every ponzi in history has begun "You give me this much money every month over the next X years, and I'll pay your way after that".  


As to those younger who think they can go mad max on my ass with taxes - I vote, you don't.  Want to get physical? Bring it on. I'm ready.

What I have has been saved through diligence and living beneath my means. To expect me to pay for someone else who decided to live the life of Riley is demeaning and really shows a stunning belief in the state before the individual - when the state is supposed to be the servant.



atlasRocked's picture

Humans – foolishly relying on politicians to protect them for 150 years.

1880: “Indiginous disarmed Western American Indian population relied on openly racist, lying policy makers to stick to their commitments and protect them.”
1937: “Disarmed Chinese citizens of Nanking relied on openly racist, socialist, lying policy makers to stick to their commitments and protect them.”
1939: “Disarmed European Jewish population relied on openly racist, socialist, lying policy makers to stick to their commitments and protect them.”
1939: “Disarmed French population relied on openly socialist lying policy makers to stick to their commitments and protect them from the German socialists.”
2016: “Aging, defenseless US elderly population is relying on openly racist, socialist, serial lying policy makers to stick to their commitments and protect them.”

BobRocket's picture

In the past 10 years the child mortality rate in Nigeria has gone from 60 to 42 (bizarely mirrored in the UK going from 6 to 4.2 in the same period).

People get richer because their scattergun approach to investment in their children pays off

The total fertility rate will fall (is doing) in response to the falling child mortality rate.

People get richer quicker because targetted investment in progeny gives better return


Population continues to rise for a period because number of children survivng is increasing and the adult mortality rate is falling, this is reflected in an ageing population.

Currently lots of children entering at the bottom and fewer older ones shuffling off.

Soon fewer children entering and more older ones exiting.

Death rate rises to higher than birthrate but this has no effect on fertility rate because these are old people dying.

People get richer.

People die out.


DoIt4Free's picture

It's Okay everyone. Those young, vibrant, hard working,  entrepreneurial  black Africans will support aging Europeans and Asians.

BobRocket's picture

Affluent nations will import these fecund foreigners to try to stave off the inevitable and it will work for precisely one generation, they will breed like rabbits at first and then they will adopt the western TFR of 1.4 and the process of decline will continue.

All the while the source nations TFR will decline from the current high rates (>6 in sub-sahara) to less than 2.

And then there will be no foreigners left to import.

And that's it.



SmittyinLA's picture

One thing is for sure there isn't a correlation between population stability and race and religion or living standards.

O wait, it appears there is.

Looks like Asians, Muslims and Africans don't have population stability, and their living standards have been lower for thousands of years.

Bullish Brexit

johnnycanuck's picture

China is establishing significant interests in Africa, South America and where ever else they can. Continuously warming relations with Russia is another strategic move that will pay dividends for both countries long term.  They are not dullards and shouldn't be underestimated in their ability to study the methods of others who have integrated themselves far and wide and made out fine by controlling the money supply and taking a piece of everyone's action by whatever means necessary.  Like many countries, they are burdened by poor decisions made by previous leaders.  Mao wanted a baby boom, apparently 800 million Chinese wasn't enough for his plans for the future.

Western society relies on absorbing significant numbers of people where ever  they can be found, even if they have to create chaos to generate the desired influx. 

As I recall, a large increase of Mexican illegals crossing into the US was a result of US gov't corn subsidies followed by yuuge efforts to increase Corn yields via use of GMO seed.


SmittyinLA's picture

Actually it's a local demographic crises made global by the globalists. For eons the African and Indian tribes just killed their neighbors for more space, the rest of the world used to be "not that stupid".

kareninca's picture

If there are too few people, why is (real) unemployment so high?  In rural New England, it's mostly old people, as in the future depicted here.  But there are no jobs for those young people who are said to be so crucial.  The old people, btw, are almost all perfectly capable of working and would if they had to, even some of the ones I know who are in assisted living facilities; they have their marbles and could do most things short of hard physical labor.  My grandmother spent the 29 years of her retirement vaguely wishing she were working; she was somewhat bored and wanted to be productive.

If there aren't enough jobs for the present young people, how would adding more young people help?  The lack of jobs of course is due to the debt/Fed, and regulations that kill any new economic activity.

Faeriedust's picture

Chill, fellas. THERE ARE 8 BILLION HUMANS ON THIS PLANET. The human race is not going to go extinct anytime soon, just because we ratchet back the baby-making.  Nor will it be "reduced to unsustainable islands, limping on with inbred mutation."  Serious inbreeding, known to anthropologists as the Founder Effect, only results when you reduce the breeding population to less than about 200 individuals, and even then, it's generally occurred because many of those 200 were genetically related.

We have QUITE a ways to go before the reduced birthrate poses any kind of threat to the human race. The human race survived most of its history with less than a billion total individuals alive at any one time.  In fact, the best thing we can do to prolong our species' existence at this time is to reduce our numbers as we are currently blowing through more resources than the planet can support.

Now, it's likely that economies will collapse and governments will tumble due to the strain of readjusting from "Grow-grow-growth!" to the reality of declining population and limited resources.  But that was going to happen anyway, because, can you say, "DECLINING RESOURCES"?  Infinite growth was never going to happen.  By reducing the number of people to be supported, the planet is more likely to continue supporting them.  Likewise, eventually, old people will die.  We ain't none of us going to live forever, and if the economy is cracking up, chances are good that the medical costs of seniors' declining health will stop being covered by the governments of previously wealthy nations.

Who will take care of all the children and old people?  Whoever cares.  And if nobody cares, people will die at some point, but all people die at some point.  It doesn't mean the end of life on Earth.

Mike in GA's picture

"We ain't none of us going to live forever"


That, plus "there ain't no free lunch" is the essence of all human wisdom.

mary mary's picture

Young people do not support old people.  Natural resources support old people, and young people as well.

Increase population by a factor of 10, and you decrease the natural resource/person by a factor of 10.

Mauldin is mindlessly repeating the CHURCH line: always have lots of babies, so we can have tithers, and our mega-corporation backers can have lots of customers.  Neither of them cares one whit about the old, the young, or anybody but themselves.

Whatchamacallit's picture

"If you want your nation’s population to grow" ...


And why would you want that? Unless you think your nation's population are domestic animals, literal little cash-cows bred to produce, consume, produce, consume, while you keep the butter and the cream for yourself.

Restorative_Ally's picture

World War 3 can fix all of this!

Someone tell my why we send young men to war again? Doesn't it make better sense to throw the elderly into the meat-grinder since they're often the ones cackling for war anyway? And it helps solve the demographic problem. The elderly should gladly volunteer for war or at least kill themselves knowing it will help the lot of their children and grandchildren.