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A 3D Look at Shifting Urban Populations

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Cities are constantly evolving, and urban populations respond to a number of push–pull factors, including economic opportunity, lifestyle trends, land values, and natural disasters.

Beyond the headlines and raw census numbers, it can be difficult to take population patterns into perspective. The talented team over at The Pudding has created an amazing, granular map that shows these patterns as 3D stacks.

Our focus today will be on growth between 1990 and 2015, as urban settlement patterns across Canada and the U.S. shifted dramatically over this relatively short timeframe. Let’s take a look.

Growing Cities

One of the most dramatic examples of robust growth is Toronto.

Canada’s largest city nearly doubled its population since 1990, and growth was distributed throughout the region. This city is a rare example of both extra-urban and downtown residential growth.

toronto map high growth

vancouver seattle high growth map

Vancouver is another Canadian city with a swelling urban population base. The city’s recent population growth has been heavily concentrated along transit lines and the downtown core, resulting in a “spiky” visualization which resembles the condo towers now dotting the city’s skyline.

Nearby, Seattle has added over a million people to its population since 1990. With one of the strongest economies in the country, it’s unlikely that momentum will slow any time soon.

Growing Suburbs

Only recently have some cities begun to see urban residential construction. For much of the ’90s and ’00s, America’s growth was in peripheral suburbs, where land was plentiful and cheap.

dallas fort worth growth map
atlanta population map

This sprawl effect is particularly easy to spot in the Texas Triangle – which encompasses the cities of San Antonio, Austin, Dallas–Fort Worth, and Houston – and Atlanta.

los angeles orange county growth

While Los Angeles did see a modest amount of growth over the past 25 years, it was the Inland Empire – anchored by San Bernardino and Riverside – that saw the most dramatic population growth in the region. The construction boom is only intensifying. The region added 50,000 new residents between 2016 and 2017.

Boomtowns

fort mac gillette map growth

In general, smaller towns either lost population or remained relatively static. The exception is in places where resource extraction caused a growth spurt. Two prime examples are in Gillette, Wyoming, and Fort McMurray, Alberta. In the latter town, oil sands extraction added tens of thousands of new residents in a short amount of time.

Mixed growth and Static Cities

Chicago experienced one of the most striking growth patterns over the past 25 years. The contrast between urban decline and growth in the exurbs is clearly revealed in this visualization.

chicago mixed growth map

Contrast is also clear when looking at divergent patterns of Washington D.C. and Baltimore. The nation’s capital and surrounding areas have been growing steadily in recent years, whereas the neighboring city’s population is declining towards a 100-year low.

washington dc growth baltimore decline

Static Cities

While a number of urban areas experienced dramatic shifts in the last couple of decades, some cities sidestepped wild population swings. For example, much of Philadelphia’s population pattern remains similar to what it was in 1990.

philly static population map
scranton springfield static population

Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Springfield, Massachusetts, are examples of smaller cities that remained in stasis.

Decline and Disaster

A number of cities in America’s “Rust Belt” experienced declining populations. The visualizations of cities like Cleveland and Detroit show just how pronounced the exodus was.

cleveland population decline map
Detroit population decline map

The shrinking tax base and glut of vacant homes is causing a number of problems in the two cities, and with mixed economic prospects, it’s unclear what the next 25 years will bring in terms of population changes.

Often, population declines are the result of economic reasons such as a decline in manufacturing or general stagnation. On occasion though, the raw power of nature changes the course of a city’s history. This is the case in New Orleans, were Hurricane Katrina’s legacy is clearly seen in this visualization.

new orleans population map

New Orleans did recover in the years after the hurricane. However, as of 2015, the city was still far below its pre-Katrina population. Resettlement has been patchy as well, which is reflected in the towering red peaks of the population map.

To explore your city or other parts of the world, visit The Pudding’s interactive map.

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The Population of China in Perspective

China is the world’s most populous country. But how does the population of China compare to the rest of the world?

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population of china

The Population of China in Perspective

China is the world’s most populous country with an astounding 1.44 billion citizens. Altogether, the size of the population of China is larger than nearly four regions combined: South America, Europe (excluding Russia), the U.S. & Canada, and Australia & New Zealand.

Using data from the United Nations, this unconventional map reveals the comparative size of China’s population next to a multitude of other countries.

Note: To keep the visualization easy to read, we’ve simplified the shapes representing countries. For example, although we’ve included Alaska and Hawaii in U.S. population totals, the U.S. is represented by the contiguous states map only.

A Historical Perspective

Looking at history, the population of China has more than doubled since the 1950s. The country was the first in the world to hit one billion people in 1980.

However, in 1979, in an attempt to control the burgeoning population, the infamous one-child policy was introduced, putting controls on how many children Chinese citizens could have.

While the government eventually recognized the negative implications of this policy, it appeared to be too little, too late. The two-child policy was introduced in 2016, but it has not yet reversed the current slowdown in population growth.

YearChina's Population (Millions)Annual Rate of Growth (%)Median AgeFertility Rate
1955612.22.00%22.26.11
1960660.41.53%21.35.48
1965724.21.86%19.86.15
1970827.62.70%19.36.30
1975926.22.28%20.34.85
19801,000.11.55%21.93.01
19851,075.61.47%23.52.52
19901,176.91.82%24.92.73
19951,240.91.07%27.41.83
20001,290.60.79%30.01.62
20051,330.80.62%32.61.61
20101,368.80.57%35.01.62
20151,406.80.55%36.71.64
20161,414.00.51%37.01.65
20171,421.00.49%37.01.65
20181,427.60.47%37.01.65
20191,433.80.43%37.01.65
20201,439.30.39%38.41.69

The fertility rate has been consistently falling from over 6 births per woman in 1955 to 1.69 in 2020. Today, the median age in China is 38 years old, rising from 22 in 1955. Longer life spans and fewer births form a demographic trend that has many social and economic implications.

Overall, China’s young population is becoming scarcer, meaning that the domestic labor market will eventually begin shrinking. Additionally, the larger share of elderly citizens will require publicly-funded resources, resulting in a heavier societal and financial burden.

Strength in Numbers

Despite these trends, however, China’s current population remains massive, constituting almost 20% of the world’s total population. Right now 71% of the Chinese population is between the ages of 15 and 65 years old, meaning that the labor supply is still immense.

Here are the populations of 65 countries from various regions of the world—and added together, you’ll see they still fall short of the population of China:

CountryPopulation Region
🇺🇸 U.S.331,002,651North America
🇨🇦 Canada37,742,154North America
🇧🇷 Brazil212,559,417South America
🇨🇴 Colombia50,882,891South America
🇦🇷 Argentina45,195,774South America
🇵🇪 Peru32,971,854South America
🇻🇪 Venezuela28,435,940South America
🇨🇱 Chile19,116,201South America
🇪🇨 Ecuador17,643,054South America
🇧🇴 Bolivia11,673,021South America
🇵🇾 Paraguay7,132,538South America
🇺🇾 Uruguay3,473,730South America
🇬🇾 Guyana786,552South America
🇸🇷 Suriname586,632South America
🇬🇫 French Guyana298,682South America
🇫🇰 Falkland Islands3,480South America
🇦🇺 Australia25,499,884Oceania
🇳🇿 New Zealand4,822,233Oceania
🇩🇪 Germany83,783,942Europe
🇫🇷 France65,273,511Europe
🇳🇱 Netherlands17,134,872Europe
🇧🇪 Belgium11,589,623Europe
🇦🇹 Austria9,006,398Europe
🇨🇭 Switzerland8,654,622Europe
🇱🇺 Luxembourg625,978Europe
🇲🇨 Monaco39,242Europe
🇱🇮 Liechtenstein38,128Europe
🇮🇹 Italy60,461,826Europe
🇪🇸 Spain46,754,778Europe
🇬🇷 Greece10,423,054Europe
🇵🇹 Portugal10,196,709Europe
🇷🇸 Serbia8,737,371Europe
🇭🇷 Croatia4,105,267Europe
🇧🇦 Bosnia and Herzegovina3,280,819Europe
🇦🇱 Albania2,877,797Europe
🇲🇰 North Macedonia2,083,374Europe
🇸🇮 Slovenia2,078,938Europe
🇲🇪 Montenegro628,066Europe
🇲🇹 Malta441,543Europe
🇦🇩 Andorra77,265Europe
🇸🇲 San Marino33,931Europe
🇬🇮 Gibraltar33,691Europe
🇻🇦 Vatican City801Europe
🇬🇧 United Kingdom67,886,011Europe
🇸🇪 Sweden10,099,265Europe
🇩🇰 Denmark5,792,202Europe
🇫🇮 Finland5,540,720Europe
🇳🇴 Norway5,421,241Europe
🇮🇪 Ireland4,937,786Europe
🇱🇹 Lithuania2,722,289Europe
🇱🇻 Latvia1,886,198Europe
🇪🇪 Estonia1,326,535Europe
🇮🇸 Iceland341,243Europe
Channel Islands173,863Europe
🇮🇲 Isle of Man85,033Europe
🇫🇴 Faroe Islands48,863Europe
🇺🇦 Ukraine43,733,762Europe
🇵🇱 Poland37,846,611Europe
🇷🇴 Romania19,237,691Europe
🇨🇿 Czechia10,708,981Europe
🇭🇺 Hungary9,660,351Europe
🇧🇾 Belarus9,449,323Europe
🇧🇬 Bulgaria6,948,445Europe
🇸🇰 Slovakia5,459,642Europe
🇲🇩 Moldova4,033,963Europe
Total1,431,528,252

To break it down even further, here’s a look at the population of each of the regions listed above:

  • Australia and New Zealand: 30.3 million
  • Europe (excluding Russia): 601.7 million
  • South America: 430.8 million
  • The U.S. and Canada: 368.7 million

Combined their population is 1.432 billion compared to China’s 1.439 billion.

Overall, the population of China has few comparables. India is one exception, with a population of 1.38 billion. As a continent, Africa comes in close as well at 1.34 billion people. Here’s a breakdown of Africa’s population for further comparison.

CountryPopulation Region
🇳🇬 Nigeria206,139,589Africa
🇬🇭 Ghana31,072,940Africa
🇨🇮 Côte d'Ivoire26,378,274Africa
🇳🇪 Niger24,206,644Africa
🇧🇫 Burkina Faso20,903,273Africa
🇲🇱 Mali20,250,833Africa
🇸🇳 Senegal16,743,927Africa
🇬🇳 Guinea13,132,795Africa
🇧🇯 Benin12,123,200Africa
🇹🇬 Togo8,278,724Africa
🇸🇱 Sierra Leone7,976,983Africa
🇱🇷 Liberia5,057,681Africa
🇲🇷 Mauritania4,649,658Africa
🇬🇲 Gambia2,416,668Africa
🇬🇼 Guinea-Bissau1,968,001Africa
🇨🇻 Cabo Verde555,987Africa
🇸🇭 Saint Helena6,077Africa
🇿🇦 South Africa59,308,690Africa
🇳🇦 Namibia2,540,905Africa
🇧🇼 Botswana2,351,627Africa
🇱🇸 Lesotho2,142,249Africa
🇸🇿 Eswatini1,160,164Africa
🇪🇬 Egypt102,334,404Africa
🇩🇿 Algeria43,851,044Africa
🇸🇩 Sudan43,849,260Africa
🇲🇦 Morocco36,910,560Africa
🇹🇳 Tunisia11,818,619Africa
🇱🇾 Libya6,871,292Africa
🇪🇭 Western Sahara597,339Africa
🇨🇩 Democratic Republic of the Congo89,561,403Africa
🇦🇴 Angola32,866,272Africa
🇨🇲 Cameroon26,545,863Africa
🇹🇩 Chad16,425,864Africa
🇨🇬 Congo5,518,087Africa
🇨🇫 Central African Republic4,829,767Africa
🇬🇦 Gabon2,225,734Africa
🇬🇶 Equatorial Guinea1,402,985Africa
🇸🇹 Sao Tome and Principe219,159Africa
🇪🇹 Ethiopia114,963,588Africa
🇹🇿 Tanzania59,734,218Africa
🇰🇪 Kenya53,771,296Africa
🇺🇬 Uganda45,741,007Africa
🇲🇿 Mozambique31,255,435Africa
🇲🇬 Madagascar27,691,018Africa
🇲🇼 Malawi19,129,952Africa
🇿🇲 Zambia18,383,955Africa
🇸🇴 Somalia15,893,222Africa
🇿🇼 Zimbabwe14,862,924Africa
🇷🇼 Rwanda12,952,218Africa
🇧🇮 Burundi11,890,784Africa
🇸🇸 South Sudan11,193,725Africa
🇪🇷 Eritrea3,546,421Africa
🇲🇺 Mauritius1,271,768Africa
🇩🇯 Djibouti988,000Africa
🇷🇪 Réunion895,312Africa
🇰🇲 Comoros869,601Africa
🇾🇹 Mayotte272,815Africa
🇸🇨 Seychelles98,347Africa
Total1,340,598,147

Future Outlook on the Population of China

Whether or not China’s population growth is slowing appears to be less relevant when looking at its sheer size. While India is expected to match the country’s population by 2026, China will remain one of the world’s largest economic powerhouses regardless.

It is estimated, however, that the population of China will drop below one billion people by the year 2100—bumping the nation to third place in the ranking of the world’s most populous countries. At the same time, it’s possible that China’s economic dominance may be challenged by these same demographic tailwinds as time moves forward.

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Mapping the World’s Youngest and Oldest Countries

Higher life expectancies and lower fertility rates are reshaping global demographics, but vast regional differences remain. Where are the youngest and oldest countries in the world?

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Mapping the World’s Youngest and Oldest Countries

Country age demographics are determined by two key factors: fertility and mortality.

Throughout history, it was typical to see both birth and death rates at higher levels. But today, in most parts of the world, women are having fewer children, and innovations in healthcare and technology mean we are all living longer. The average person today lives to 72.6 years old, while the rate of births per woman has fallen to 2.5.

These trends have drastically altered the demographics of mature economies, resulting in a much older population. In many developing countries, however, births still outweigh deaths, resulting in populations that skew younger.

This visualization uses data from the World Bank to examine the countries with the highest shares of old and young people.

The Fountain of Youth

By 2030, the United Nations estimates there will be 1.3 billion people on the planet between the ages of 15-24. Proving to be a fountain of youth globally, the continent of Africa boasts the top 10 countries with the largest shares of young people in the world.

Somalia, Zambia, and the DRC are just a few to crack the top 10 list. The youngest country in the world is Niger, where almost 50% of the population is below the age of 15.

Here’s a full list of global countries, sorted by percentage of population under 15 years old:

CountryShare of Population Younger Than 15 (% of total, 2019)
🇳🇪 Niger49.8%
🇲🇱 Mali47.3%
🇹🇩 Chad46.8%
🇦🇴 Angola46.6%
🇺🇬 Uganda46.5%
🇸🇴 Somalia46.4%
🇨🇩 Congo, Dem. Rep.46.0%
🇧🇮 Burundi45.4%
🇧🇫 Burkina Faso44.7%
🇿🇲 Zambia44.5%
🇲🇿 Mozambique44.4%
🇬🇲 The Gambia44.1%
🇹🇿 Tanzania43.8%
🇳🇬 Nigeria43.7%
🇲🇼 Malawi43.5%
🇬🇳 Guinea43.4%
🇸🇳 Senegal42.8%
🇦🇫 Afghanistan42.5%
🇨🇲 Cameroon42.4%
🇧🇯 Benin42.2%
🇬🇼 Guinea-Bissau42.2%
🇿🇼 Zimbabwe42.2%
🇸🇹 Sao Tome and Principe42.1%
🇨🇮 Cote d'Ivoire41.7%
🇸🇸 South Sudan41.6%
🇨🇬 Congo41.5%
🇹🇬 Togo41.0%
🇱🇷 Liberia40.8%
🇸🇱 Sierra Leone40.7%
🇲🇬 Madagascar40.4%
🇪🇹 Ethiopia40.3%
🇸🇩 Sudan40.2%
🇸🇧 Solomon Islands40.1%
🇲🇷 Mauritania39.9%
🇷🇼 Rwanda39.8%
🇰🇲 Comoros39.3%
🇰🇪 Kenya39.2%
🇾🇪 Yemen39.2%
🇻🇺 Vanuatu38.7%
🇮🇶 Iraq38.0%
🇼🇸 Samoa37.9%
🇸🇿 Eswatini37.8%
🇬🇭 Ghana37.4%
🇹🇱 Timor-Leste37.3%
🇬🇦 Gabon37.2%
🇹🇯 Tajikistan37.1%
🇬🇶 Equatorial Guinea37.0%
🇳🇦 Namibia36.9%
🇰🇮 Kiribati35.8%
🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea35.5%
🇵🇰 Pakistan35.1%
🇹🇴Tonga35.1%
🇬🇹 Guatemala33.9%
🇧🇼 Botswana33.8%
🇪🇬 Egypt33.8%
🇯🇴 Jordan33.6%
🇭🇹 Haiti32.9%
🇰🇬 Kyrgyzstan32.5%
🇱🇸 Lesotho32.5%
🇱🇦 Laos32.3%
🇫🇲 Micronesia31.5%
🇭🇳 Honduras31.2%
🇰🇭 Cambodia31.1%
🇸🇾 Syria31.1%
🇲🇳 Mongolia30.8%
🇹🇲 Turkmenistan30.8%
🇧🇴 Bolivia30.6%
🇩🇿 Algeria30.6%
🇵🇭 Philippines30.5%
🇳🇮 Nicaragua29.9%
🇧🇿 Belize29.7%
🇳🇵 Nepal29.6%
🇫🇯 Fiji29.3%
🇩🇯 Djibouti29.2%
🇵🇾 Paraguay29.2%
🇿🇦 South Africa29.0%
🇰🇿 Kazakhstan28.9%
🇺🇿 Uzbekistan28.8%
🇨🇻 Cape Verde28.4%
🇱🇾 Libya28.1%
🇬🇾 Guyana27.9%
🇮🇱 Israel27.9%
🇩🇴 Dominican Republic27.7%
🇪🇨 Ecuador27.7%
🇻🇪 Venezuela27.4%
🇧🇩 Bangladesh27.2%
🇲🇦 Morocco27.0%
🇸🇻 El Salvador26.9%
🇸🇷 Suriname26.9%
🇵🇦 Panama26.8%
🇮🇳 India26.6%
🇮🇩 Indonesia26.2%
🇲🇽 Mexico26.2%
🇲🇲 Myanmar25.9%
🇱🇧 Lebanon25.6%
🇧🇹 Bhutan25.3%
🇵🇪 Peru25.3%
🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia24.9%
🇮🇷 Iran24.7%
🇦🇷 Argentina24.6%
🇹🇷 Turkey24.3%
🇹🇳 Tunisia24.2%
🇬🇺 Guam24.1%
🇱🇰 Sri Lanka24.0%
🇬🇩 Grenada23.7%
🇲🇾 Malaysia23.7%
🇸🇨 Seychelles23.7%
🇯🇲 Jamaica23.5%
🇦🇿Azerbaijan23.4%
🇻🇳 Vietnam23.2%
🇧🇳 Brunei 22.6%
🇨🇴 Colombia22.6%
🇵🇫 French Polynesia22.6%
🇳🇨 New Caledonia22.4%
🇴🇲 Oman22.4%
🇻🇨 St. Vincent and the Grenadines22.2%
🇧🇸 Bahamas22.1%
🇦🇬 Antigua and Barbuda22.0%
🇰🇼 Kuwait21.6%
🇮🇪 Ireland21.2%
🇨🇷 Costa Rica21.1%
🇧🇷 Brazil21.0%
🇦🇲 Armenia20.8%
🇺🇾 Uruguay20.5%
🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago20.3%
🇬🇪 Georgia20.0%
🇰🇵 North Korea20.0%
🇲🇻 Maldives19.9%
🇮🇸 Iceland19.6%
🇳🇿 New Zealand19.6%
🇨🇱 Chile19.5%
🇻🇮 U.S. Virgin Islands19.5%
🇦🇺 Australia19.3%
🇧🇭 Bahrain18.7%
🇨🇼 Curacao18.5%
🇺🇸 United States18.5%
🇱🇨 St. Lucia18.2%
🇲🇪 Montenegro18.2%
🇷🇺 Russia18.2%
🇨🇳 China17.8%
🇫🇷 France17.8%
🇬🇧 United Kingdom17.7%
🇦🇼 Aruba17.6%
🇸🇪 Sweden17.6%
🇦🇱 Albania17.4%
🇳🇴 Norway17.4%
🇲🇺 Mauritius17.3%
🇧🇪 Belgium17.1%
🇧🇧 Barbados17.1%
🇧🇾 Belarus17.0%
🇹🇭 Thailand16.8%
🇨🇾 Cyprus16.7%
🇪🇪 Estonia16.5%
🇩🇰 Denmark16.4%
🇲🇰 North Macedonia16.4%
🇱🇻 Latvia16.3%
🇵🇷 Puerto Rico16.3%
🇨🇺 Cuba16.0%
🇫🇮 Finland16.0%
🇲🇩 Moldova15.9%
🇳🇱 Netherlands15.9%
🇺🇦 Ukraine15.9%
🇨🇦 Canada15.8%
🇨🇿 Czech Republic15.7%
🇱🇺 Luxembourg15.7%
🇷🇴 Romania15.6%
🇷🇸 Serbia15.5%
🇸🇰 Slovakia15.5%
🇵🇱 Poland15.2%
Channel Islands15.1%
🇱🇹 Lithuania15.1%
🇸🇮 Slovenia15.1%
🇨🇭 Switzerland14.9%
🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates14.7%
🇧🇬 Bulgaria14.7%
🇧🇦 Bosnia and Herzegovina14.7%
🇪🇸 Spain14.6%
🇭🇷 Croatia14.6%
🇦🇹 Austria14.4%
🇭🇺 Hungary14.4%
🇲🇹 Malta14.3%
🇲🇴 Macao SAR, China14.0%
🇬🇷 Greece13.9%
🇩🇪 Germany13.8%
🇶🇦 Qatar13.6%
🇵🇹 Portugal13.3%
🇮🇹 Italy13.2%
🇰🇷 South Korea12.7%
🇯🇵 Japan12.6%
🇭🇰 Hong Kong SAR, China12.3%
🇸🇬 Singapore12.3%

Young countries have significant opportunities ahead of them. A younger population means a larger upcoming workforce and more opportunities for innovation and economic growth.

While domestic markets in Africa grow in terms of labor supply, innovation, and potential consumers, there are also challenges that arise in these countries. Corruption, political instability and unemployment, particularly in Africa, are all potential barriers to prosperity for the continent’s Gen Z population.

Populations Skewing Older

The world’s oldest country is Japan, where 28% of the population is older than 65. However, it’s an anomaly—the rest of the oldest countries in the top 10 are all in Europe.

Globally, it’s the 65+ age group that is growing the fastest. According to the same UN estimates, it is predicted that by 2050 that one in six people will be over 65 years old.

Here’s a full list of global countries, sorted by percentage of population over 65 years old:

CountryShare of Population Older Than 65 (% of total, 2019)
🇯🇵 Japan28.0%
🇮🇹 Italy23.0%
🇵🇹 Portugal22.4%
🇫🇮 Finland22.1%
🇬🇷 Greece21.9%
🇩🇪 Germany21.5%
🇧🇬 Bulgaria21.2%
🇭🇷 Croatia20.8%
🇲🇹 Malta20.8%
🇫🇷 France20.3%
🇱🇻 Latvia20.3%
🇸🇪 Sweden20.1%
🇸🇮 Slovenia20.1%
🇱🇹 Lithuania20.1%
🇪🇪 Estonia19.9%
🇩🇰 Denmark19.9%
🇻🇮 U.S. Virgin Islands 19.8%
🇨🇿 Czech Republic19.8%
🇵🇷 Puerto Rico19.6%
🇭🇺 Hungary19.6%
🇪🇸 Spain19.6%
🇳🇱 Netherlands19.6%
🇦🇹 Austria19.0%
🇧🇪 Belgium19.0%
🇨🇭 Switzerland18.8%
🇷🇴 Romania18.7%
🇷🇸 Serbia18.7%
🇬🇧 United Kingdom18.5%
🇵🇱 Poland18.1%
🇨🇦 Canada17.6%
Channel Islands17.6%
🇭🇰 Hong Kong SAR, China17.4%
🇳🇴 Norway17.2%
🇧🇦 Bosnia and Herzegovina17.2%
🇨🇼 Curaçao17.1%
🇺🇦 Ukraine16.7%
🇧🇧 Barbados16.2%
🇺🇸 United States16.2%
🇸🇰 Slovakia16.1%
🇳🇿 New Zealand15.9%
🇦🇺 Australia15.9%
🇨🇺 Cuba15.5%
🇲🇪 Montenegro15.3%
🇧🇾 Belarus15.2%
🇮🇸 Iceland15.1%
🇷🇺 Russia15.0%
🇬🇪 Georgia15.0%
🇰🇷 South Korea15.0%
🇺🇾 Uruguay14.9%
🇱🇺 Luxembourg14.2%
🇮🇪 Ireland14.2%
🇦🇱 Albania14.2%
🇲🇰 North Macedonia14.0%
🇦🇼 Aruba14.0%
🇨🇾 Cyprus14.0%
🇹🇭 Thailand12.4%
🇸🇬 Singapore12.3%
🇮🇱 Israel12.2%
🇲🇩 Moldova12.0%
🇲🇺 Mauritius11.9%
🇨🇱 Chile11.8%
🇦🇲 Armenia11.4%
🇨🇳 China11.4%
🇦🇷 Argentina11.2%
🇲🇴 Macao SAR, China11.2%
🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago11.1%
🇱🇰 Sri Lanka10.8%
🇬🇺 Guam10.1%
🇱🇨 St. Lucia10.0%
🇨🇷 Costa Rica9.8%
🇻🇨 St. Vincent and the Grenadines9.7%
🇬🇩 Grenada9.6%
🇳🇨 New Caledonia9.4%
🇰🇵 North Korea9.2%
🇧🇷 Brazil9.2%
🇦🇬 Antigua and Barbuda9.0%
🇯🇲 Jamaica8.9%
🇨🇴 Colombia8.7%
🇹🇷 Turkey8.7%
🇵🇫 French Polynesia8.6%
🇹🇳 Tunisia8.5%
🇸🇻 El Salvador8.4%
🇵🇪 Peru8.3%
🇵🇦 Panama8.3%
🇸🇨 Seychelles7.8%
🇰🇿 Kazakhstan7.6%
🇻🇪 Venezuela7.6%
🇻🇳 Vietnam7.5%
🇧🇸 Bahamas7.4%
🇲🇽 Mexico7.4%
🇪🇨 Ecuador7.3%
🇧🇴 Bolivia7.3%
🇲🇦 Morocco7.3%
🇩🇴 Dominican Republic7.2%
🇱🇧 Lebanon7.2%
🇸🇷 Suriname7.0%
🇲🇾 Malaysia6.9%
🇬🇾 Guyana6.7%
🇵🇾 Paraguay6.6%
🇩🇿 Algeria6.5%
🇦🇿 Azerbaijan6.4%
🇮🇳 India6.3%
🇮🇷 Iran6.3%
🇧🇹 Bhutan6.0%
🇮🇩 Indonesia6.0%
🇲🇲 Myanmar6.0%
🇹🇴 Tonga5.9%
🇳🇵 Nepal5.7%
🇫🇯 Fiji5.6%
🇳🇮 Nicaragua5.4%
🇿🇦 South Africa5.4%
🇵🇭 Philippines5.3%
🇪🇬 Egypt5.2%
🇧🇳 Brunei 5.2%
🇧🇩 Bangladesh5.1%
🇭🇹 Haiti5.0%
🇼🇸 Samoa4.9%
🇬🇹 Guatemala4.9%
🇱🇸 Lesotho4.9%
🇧🇿 Belize4.8%
🇭🇳 Honduras4.8%
🇰🇭 Cambodia4.7%
🇨🇻 Cape Verde4.6%
🇸🇾 Syria4.6%
🇩🇯 Djibouti4.6%
🇰🇬 Kyrgyzstan4.6%
🇺🇿 Uzbekistan4.5%
🇹🇲 Turkmenistan4.5%
🇱🇾 Libya4.4%
🇧🇼 Botswana4.3%
🇵🇰 Pakistan4.3%
🇹🇱 Timor-Leste4.2%
🇫🇲 Micronesia4.1%
🇲🇳 Mongolia4.1%
🇱🇦 Laos4.1%
🇰🇮 Kiribati4.0%
🇸🇿 Eswatini4.0%
🇯🇴 Jordan3.8%
🇲🇻 Maldives3.6%
🇸🇧 Solomon Islands3.6%
🇸🇩 Sudan3.6%
🇻🇺 Vanuatu3.6%
🇳🇦 Namibia3.6%
🇬🇦 Gabon3.5%
🇪🇹 Ethiopia3.5%
🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea3.5%
🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia3.4%
🇮🇶 Iraq3.3%
🇸🇸 South Sudan3.3%
🇱🇷 Liberia3.2%
🇧🇯 Benin3.2%
🇲🇷 Mauritania3.1%
🇸🇳 Senegal3.0%
🇬🇭 Ghana3.0%
🇹🇯 Tajikistan3.0%
🇰🇲 Comoros3.0%
🇲🇬 Madagascar3.0%
🇷🇼 Rwanda3.0%
🇨🇩 Democratic Republic of the Congo3.0%
🇿🇼 Zimbabwe2.9%
🇸🇹 Sao Tome and Principe2.9%
🇸🇱 Sierra Leone2.9%
🇬🇳 Guinea2.9%
🇾🇪 Yemen2.9%
🇸🇴 Somalia2.8%
🇹🇬 Togo2.8%
🇲🇿 Mozambique2.8%
🇨🇮 Cote d'Ivoire2.8%
🇬🇼 Guinea-Bissau2.8%
🇨🇫 Central African Republic2.8%
🇰🇼 Kuwait2.7%
🇳🇬 Nigeria2.7%
🇨🇲 Cameroon2.7%
🇨🇬 Congo2.7%
🇲🇼 Malawi2.6%
🇹🇿 Tanzania2.6%
🇦🇫 Afghanistan2.6%
🇳🇪 Niger2.5%
🇬🇲 The Gambia2.5%
🇧🇭 Bahrain2.5%
🇲🇱 Mali2.4%
🇹🇩 Chad2.4%
🇴🇲 Oman2.4%
🇬🇶 Equatorial Guinea2.4%
🇰🇪 Kenya2.4%
🇧🇫 Burkina Faso2.4%
🇧🇮 Burundi2.3%
🇦🇴 Angola2.1%
🇿🇲 Zambia2.1%
🇺🇬 Uganda1.9%
🇶🇦 Qatar1.5%
🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates1.1%

Fewer births, and a resulting older population, is a trend attributed to the changing lifestyles of women. For example, Japan’s fertility rate has fallen to less than 1.5 children per woman due to modern access to contraceptives and the prioritization of work over marriage and family life.

However, fewer young people also means a smaller workforce on the horizon and a shrinking domestic market. There is also a rising social cost of caring for the elderly, as longer lifespans have resulted in a higher prevalence of chronic diseases and an increasing inability to care for oneself. This can result in an increased tax burden on the diminishing younger, working population.

Another Perspective on the Data

Looking at the data from the opposite angle also reveals information about our world. Here’s a look at the countries with the lowest proportions of younger or older people.

youngest and oldest countries

Hong Kong and Singapore have some of the lowest fertility rates in the world (1.1), so it’s no surprise to see low numbers of children in their demographic data.

In a country like the United Arab Emirates, the majority of the population is made up of foreign workers, so the number of people in the 65+ age group is extremely low. In the coming decades though, the situation is expected to shift dramatically with one in every five Emiratis residing that age group by 2050.

The Big Picture

While each country has its own unique demographic make up, one thing is clear. As education and wealth levels rise around the world, fertility rates are dropping almost everywhere.

The trend of long life expectancies and fewer births is likely to continue, but young outliers will remain and they present immense economic potential.

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