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Mapped: Each Region’s Median Age Since 1950



Each region median age mapped

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Mapped: Each Region’s Median Age Since 1950

Over the last 70 years, the global population has gotten older. Since 1950, the worldwide median age has gone from 25 years to 33 years.

Yet, despite an overall increase globally, not all regions have aged at the same rate. For instance, Europe’s median age has grown by 14 years, while Africa’s has only increased by 1 year.

Today’s animated map uses data from the UN Population Index to highlight the changes in median age over the last 70 years, and to visualize the differences between each region. We also explain why some regions skew older than others.

Factors that Affect a Region’s Median Age

Before diving into the numbers, it’s important to understand the key factors that influence a region’s median age:

  1. Fertility Rate
    The average number of children that women give birth to in their reproductive years. The higher the fertility rate, the younger a population skews. Since 1950, the global fertility rate has dropped by 50%.
  2. Mortality Rate
    The number of deaths in a particular region, usually associated with a certain demographic or period in time. For example, global child mortality (children who have died under five years of age) has been on the decline, which has contributed to an increase in the average life expectancy across the globe.
  3. Migration
    International migration may lower a region’s population since migrants are usually younger or working age. In 2019, there were 272 million migrants globally.

The Change in Median Age

As mentioned, not all regions are created equal. Here’s how much the median age has changed in each region since 1950:

The Highs

Regions that have seen the most growth and generally skew older are Latin America, followed by Europe and Asia.

Interestingly, Asia’s notable increase is largely influenced by Japan, which has the oldest population on the planet. The country has seen a significant increase in median age since 1950—it’s gone from 22 to 48 years in 2020. This can be explained by its considerably low fertility rate, which is 1.4 births per woman—that’s less than half the global average.

But why is Japan’s fertility rate so low? There are more women in the workforce than ever before, and they are too busy to take on the burden of running a household. Yet, while women are more prosperous than ever, the workforce in general has taken a hit.

Japan’s recession in the early 1990s led to an increase in temporary jobs, which has had lasting effects on the region’s workforce—in 2019, about 1 in 5 men were working contract jobs with little stability or job growth.

The Lows

In contrast to Asia’s growth, Africa has seen the lowest increase in median age. The region’s population skews young, with over 60% of its population under the age of 25.

Africa’s young population can be explained by its high birth rate of 4.4 births per woman. It also has a relatively low life expectancy, at 65 years for women and 61 years for men. To put things into perspective, the average life expectancy across the globe is 75 years for women and 70 years for men.

Another trend worth noting is Oceania’s relatively small growth. It’s interesting because the region’s fertility rate is almost on par with the global average, at 2.4 births per woman, and the average life expectancy doesn’t differ much from the norm either.

The most likely reason for Oceania’s stagnant growth in median age is its high proportion of migrants. In 2019, the country had 8.9 million international migrants, which is 21% of its overall population. In contrast, migrants only make up 10% of North America’s population.

Unique Challenges for Every Region

Age composition has significant impacts on a region’s labor force, health services, and economic productivity.

Regions with a relatively high median age face several challenges such as shrinking workforce, higher taxes, and increasing healthcare costs. On the other end of the spectrum, regions with a younger population face increased demand for educational services and a lack of employment opportunities.

As our population worldwide continues to grow and age, it’s important to bring attention to issues that impact our global community. World Population Day on July 11, 2020, was established by the UN to try and solve worldwide population issues.

“The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the world’s blueprint for a better future for all on a healthy planet. On World Population Day, we recognize that this mission is closely interrelated with demographic trends including population growth, aging, migration, and urbanization.”

– UN Secretary-General António Guterres

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Mapped: The World’s Minority Indigenous Peoples

This map by shows the population distribution of the roughly 476 million minority Indigenous groups around the world.



Mapped: The World’s Minority Indigenous Peoples

Humanity has spread to almost every corner of Earth, and while some peoples have continued to move, others have grown roots in one region.

Generally the term indigenous peoples refers to social or cultural groups with strong ancestral ties to their land of origin. Many times these are tied to ethnicity and still live in their land of origin, but some have been displaced, diluted, or become minorities in their lands.

This map by Bhabna Banerjee uses data from the Indigenous World 2022 report to show the population distribution of the roughly 476 million minority Indigenous groups around the world. When 2022 data was unavailable, the latest available data was used.

Methodology: Indigenous vs. Minority Indigenous

Before diving in, it’s important to note that this map looks at minority Indigenous peoples as defined by the United Nations. This refers to groups of people who are not in a dominant position in their respective countries, or have a history of oppression or displacement by settlers.

Because of this, ethnic groups like the Han people in China, the Turks in Turkey, or the Scots in Scotland were not included in the dataset.

On the flip side, groups like Greenland’s Inuit were included, because of their long history of colonial control as well as Danish influence.

Indigenous Minority Populations Worldwide

Of all the countries included in the report, China has the highest number of minority Indigenous, with an estimated population of 125.3 million.

It’s worth noting that the Chinese government does not officially acknowledge the existence of Indigenous peoples. However, they do recognize 55 different ethnic minority groups across the nation, including the Zhuang, Mongolians, and the Hui.

CountryMinority Indigenous PopulationYear of Data
United States6,600,0002022
New Zealand775,5002022
French Polynesia222,4002022
Costa Rica104,1432022
Rep. of Congo43,3782022
French Guiana10,0002022
Sri Lanka12292012

After China, India has the second largest Indigenous populations, with over 700 officially recognized ethnic groups. Many of these ethnic minorities are concentrated in the north-eastern region of India, from Rajasthan to West Bengal.

While different countries and territories have varying numbers of Indigenous peoples, one thing remains consistent across the board—on average, the world’s minority Indigenous populations typically face greater economic and social challenges than their non-Indigenous (or non-minority) counterparts.

Disadvantages Faced by Indigenous Peoples

Research by the UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO) found that, while minority Indigenous peoples make up only 6% of the world’s total population, they account for nearly 20% of the world’s extreme poor.

In addition, Indigenous peoples also have much lower average life expectancies than non-Indigenous people, according to a report by the United Nations.

Some countries and governments around the world are starting to implement laws and policies to support and recognize Indigenous communities, but there’s still work to be done.

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