The extraordinary world that awaits our children

A healthy-looking older woman who is smiling towards the camera

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington has just published a remarkable Lancet study into estimated global population change over the next 80 years.

Although the global population will peak at 9.7 billion in 2064, up from 7.8 billion today, the size and makeup of many countries will dramatically change as fertility rates continue to decline and life expectancy increases. This figure shows the predicted halving of the population of Japan, Spain and Italy, along with 20 other countries (not shown).

The figure shows the remarkable decline in population across five countries between 2017 to 2100. The counties shown in the figure are Japan, Spain, Italy, Brazil and Germany

Figure 1: The extraordinary population change that is estimated to take place from 2017 to 2100

However, it is the shifting age structure that is also fascinating with 2·3 billion individuals older than 65 years in 2100 compared to around 747 million in 2020 and a six-fold increase in the over 80’s.

There is not just a societal responsibility to ensure that a longer life is spent independently and in good health, but an economic imperative if a country is to continue to grow and prosper.

Populations are not ageing at some far-off future point, but now. This is why business model innovation that helps older people to live and age well needs to be ramped up and seen by entrepreneurs and investors as an extraordinary and exciting opportunity.

It is an opportunity that I aim to enthusiastically explore.