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Chart of the Week

Germany’s Demographic Cliff [Chart]

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Germany's Demographic Cliff [Chart]

Germany’s Demographic Cliff [Chart]

Why Europe’s largest economy could be destined to be the next Japan

The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.

Last week’s chart showed that the world is turning Japanese with tales of economic malaise, extreme monetary policy, and negative rates. Germany, with its 5-yr government bond currently trading at a -0.33% yield, is no exception to this story.

However, negative yields are not the only concern that the country has in common with Japan. It’s the overall demographic picture that is worrying, and it could have a big effect on Germany’s economic future as well as the tough choices that must be made today.

Germany’s Importance

Germany is the most populous and productive economy in Europe, with 80 million people and a GDP of almost $4 trillion. It’s also the world’s third largest exporter, and that’s why it had the largest trade surplus globally in 2014 with $285 billion.

For all of its economic power, Germany has a key weakness that could potentially be its Achilles heel: it’s projected that Germany’s population will decline significantly over the coming decades, and the ratio of workers to dependents will become one of the worst in the world.

The Math

Every year, there are 8.4 births and 11.3 deaths per 1,000 people in Germany. The way this plays out over time is that the percentage of Germans under 15 will fall to 13% of the population by 2050, while the amount of people over 60 years old is to rise to 39%.

In the future, it is likely that there will not be enough youth or workers in the country. As Baby Boomers retire, there will be a larger burden placed on those paying into the government’s social safety net and other programs. Further, this widening gap will also mean a significant loss of experience, skill, and know-how in the workforce that will create coinciding economic challenges for the population.

In many Western nations, immigration plays a key role in keeping a population with low birth rates to be sustainable. However, in Germany’s case, both the high and low immigration scenarios look dire for future numbers. Germany’s state statistical authority currently projects a “high immigration” trend resulting in a drop to 73.1 million people by 2060, while a low-end estimate sees the population falling all the way to 67.6 million.

Choices

The U.N. projects that one in every six Germans will be over 80 years old by 2050. Are Germans comfortable with their nation remaining on this path?

If yes, then they must also be comfortable with a significant decrease in Germany’s economic role in the future. The country will almost certainly be on a more level stage with the U.K. and France, and it will have a diminished place on the world stage as Asia and Africa continue their rise. Tax rates will surge as a decreasing amount of workers pay into the system, and economic growth could stall in such a way that Germany has its own “Lost Decade”.

If no, then Germans must accept that there is only one realistic way to combat this trend: to open the immigration floodgates even more. While this is not what many Germans want to hear, especially as the current migrant and refugee crisis progresses, it is an option that must be weighed with careful consideration.

Either way, there are difficult choices to be made. How Germany proceeds with this question has implications both today and tomorrow on cultural, economic, and political levels.

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Chart of the Week

The Best and Worst Performing Wealth Markets in the Last 10 Years

This telling chart shows how national wealth markets have changed over the past decade, highlighting the biggest winners and losers.

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The Best and Worst Performing Wealth Markets

A lot can change in a decade.

Ten years ago, the collapse of Lehman Brothers sent the world’s financial markets into a tailspin, a catalyst for years of economic uncertainty.

At the same time, China’s robust GDP growth was reaching a fever pitch. The country was turning into a wealth creation machine, creating millions of newly-minted millionaires who would end up having a huge impact on wealth markets around the world.

The Ups and Downs of Wealth Markets (2008-2018)

Today’s graphic, using data from the Global Wealth Migration Review, looks at national wealth markets, and how they’ve changed since 2008.

Each wealth market is calculated from the sum of individual assets within the jurisdiction, accounting for the value of cash, property, equity, and business interests owned by people in the country. Just like other kinds of markets, wealth can grow or shrink over time.

Here are a few countries and regions that stand out in the report:

Developing Asian Economies
In terms of sheer wealth growth, nothing comes close to countries like China and India. The size of these markets, combined with rapid economic growth, have resulted in triple-digit gains over the last 10 years.

For the world’s two most populous countries, it’s a trend that is expected to continue into the next decade, despite the fact that many millionaire residents are migrating to different jurisdictions.

Mediterranean Malaise
European nations saw very little growth over the past decade, but the Mediterranean region was particularly hard-hit. In fact, eight of the 20 worst performing wealth markets over the last decade are located along the Mediterranean coast:

Rank (Out of 90)Country% Growth (2008-2018)
89๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ท Greece-37%
87๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡พ Cyprus-21%
86๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Italy-14%
85๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Spain-13%
84๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ท Turkey-11%
82๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ฌ Egypt-10%
80๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท France-7%
76๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ท Croatia-6%

European Bright Spots
There were some bright spots in Europe during this same time period. Malta, Ireland, and Monaco all achieved positive wealth growth at rates higher than 30% over the last 10 years.

Australia
While it’s expected to see rapidly-growing economies as prolific producers of wealth, it is much more surprising when mature markets perform so strongly. Singapore and New Zealand fall under that category, as does Australia, which was already a large, mature wealth market.

Australia recently surpassed both Canada and France to become the seventh largest wealth market in the world, and last year alone, over 12,000 millionaires migrated there.

Venezuela
The long-term economic slide of Venezuela has been well documented, and it comes as no surprise that the country saw extreme contraction of wealth over the last decade. Since war-torn countries are not included in the report, Venezuela ranked 90th, which is dead-last on a global basis.

Short Term, Long Term

In 2018, global wealth actually slumped by 5%, dropping from $215 trillion to $204 trillion.

All 90 countries tracked by the report experienced negative growth in wealth, as global stock and property markets dipped. Here’s a look at the wealth markets that were the hardest hit over the past year:

Wealth MarketWealth growth (2017 -2018)
๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡ช Venezuela-25%
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ท Turkey-23%
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ท Argentina-20%
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฐ Pakistan-15%
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ด Angola-15%
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Ukraine-13%
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท France-12%
๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ Russia-12%
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ท Iran-12%
๐Ÿ‡ถ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Qatar-12%

The future outlook is rosier. Global wealth is expected to rise by 43% over the next decade, reaching $291 trillion by 2028. If current trends play out as expected, Vietnam could likely top this list a decade from now with a staggering 200% growth rate.

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Chart of the Week

Mapping the World’s Busiest Air Routes

Flying can get you almost anywhere, but often people are journeying between two popular destinations. Here we map the busiest air routes globally.

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Mapping the World’s Busiest Air Routes

Modern air travel gives us almost unlimited possibilities for getting around.

Whether you are acting on your wanderlust to explore new and exotic destinations, hopping to a familiar island for a well-deserved vacation, or jetsetting to London in the comfort of business class, the modern airline industry can get you almost anywhere you need to go.

But while flying allows us to have unique experiences, it’s often the case that we are all coming and going from many of the same popular destinations. As a result, the world’s busiest air routes have hundreds of flights per day connecting important city pairs together.

Ranking City Pairs

Today’s chart pulls data from OAG, which has compiled a detailed report ranking the busiest domestic and international air routes from around the globe.

It’s worth noting that the data is over the period of March 2018 to February 2019, and it excludes carriers that operate fewer than 500 routes per year.

Let’s dive in to see which city pairs have the most air travel between them.

Domestic Routes

Domestic routes are far more popular than international routes globally. According to the report, there are 15 domestic routes that have more operating flights per year than any international route anywhere.

Here’s a look at the top 10 domestic routes:

RankCountryCity PairFlights (Annually)Carriers
#1๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ทJeju โ†”๏ธ Seoul79,4607
#2๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บMelbourne โ†”๏ธ Sydney54,1024
#3๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณMumbai โ†”๏ธ Delhi45,1886
#4๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ทSรฃo Paulo โ†”๏ธ Rio de Janeiro39,7473
#5๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ตFukuoka โ†”๏ธ Toyko39,4064
#6๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡ณHanoi โ†”๏ธ Ho Chi Minh City39,2913
#7๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ตHokkaido โ†”๏ธ Tokyo39,2714
#8๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฉJakarta โ†”๏ธ Surabaya City37,7626
#9๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธLos Angeles โ†”๏ธ San Francisco35,3655
#10๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฆJeddah โ†”๏ธ Riyadh35,1495

The busiest domestic route might be a surprise, unless you are familiar with Asian geography.

With almost 80,000 annual flights, the 300-mile hop between Seoul and Jeju Island in South Korea is the busiest air route in the world by a large margin. Overall, there are seven carriers competing on it each day, with over 200 daily flights available between them.

What makes Jeju so popular?

Known as the “Hawaii of South Korea”, this volcanic island is an extremely popular vacation destination within the country, and it hosts roughly 15 million guests per year.

International Routes

On an international basis, the busiest route has almost 50,000 fewer flights per year than the Jeju-Seoul city pair listed above. Not surprisingly, this route – and many other top international routes – are also located in the Asia Pacific region.

RankCountriesCity PairFlights (Annually)Carriers
#1๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡พ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌKuala Lumpur โ†”๏ธ Singapore30,1878
#2๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ผHong Kong โ†”๏ธ Taipei28,4475
#3๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌJakarta โ†”๏ธ Singapore27,0467
#4๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณHong Kong โ†”๏ธ Shanghai20,6785
#5๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡พJakarta โ†”๏ธ Kuala Lumpur19,7418
#6๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ตSeoul โ†”๏ธ Osaka19,7118
#7๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆNew York (LGA) โ†”๏ธ Toronto17,0383
#8๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ทHong Kong โ†”๏ธ Seoul15,7709
#9๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌBangkok โ†”๏ธ Singapore14,6985
#10๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ผDubai โ†”๏ธ Kuwait14,5814

The short hop between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur takes only one hour, and it connects two major Southeast Asian commercial hubs. The route has 41 flights per day between eight airlines, making it one of the most competitive routes globally.

The busiest international route outside of the Asia Pacific is between Toronto and New York (LaGuardia) with 17,038 annual flights. Interestingly, it only has three competing carriers – the lowest of any of the top 10 routes.

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