The Fastest Growing Jobs Over the Next Decade
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The 20 Fastest Growing Jobs in the Next Decade

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Fastest Growing Jobs in the Next Decade

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How is the Job Market Shifting Over the Next Decade?

The employment landscape is constantly shifting. While agricultural jobs played a big role in the 19th century, a large portion of U.S. jobs today are in administration, sales, or transportation. So how can job seekers identify the fastest growing jobs of the future?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects there will be 11.9 million new jobs created from 2020 to 2030, an overall growth rate of 7.7%. However, some jobs have a growth rate that far exceeds this level. In this graphic, we use BLS data to show the fastest growing jobs—and fastest declining jobs—and how much they each pay.

The Top 20 Fastest Growing Jobs

We used the dataset that excludes occupations with above average cyclical recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, jobs such as motion picture projectionists, ticket takers, and restaurant cooks were removed. Once these exclusions were made, the resulting list reflects long-term structural growth.

Here are the fastest growing jobs from 2020 to 2030, along with the number of jobs that will be created and the median pay for the position.

OccupationPercent employment change, 2020–2030PNumeric employment change, 2020-2030PMedian annual wage, 2020
Wind turbine service technicians68.2%4,700$56,230
Nurse practitioners52.2%114,900$111,680
Solar photovoltaic installers52.1%6,100$46,470
Statisticians35.4%14,900$92,270
Physical therapist assistants35.4%33,200$59,770
Information security analysts33.3%47,100$103,590
Home health and personal care aides32.6%1,129,900$27,080
Medical and health services managers32.5%139,600$104,280
Data scientists and mathematical science occupations, all other31.4%19,800$98,230
Physician assistants31.0%40,100$115,390
Epidemiologists29.6%2,300$74,560
Logisticians29.5%56,400$76,270
Speech-language pathologists28.7%45,400$80,480
Animal trainers28.5%17,200$31,520
Computer numerically controlled tool programmers27.4%7,400$57,740
Genetic counselors26.2%600$85,700
Crematory operators and personal care and service workers, all other24.8%19,900$28,420
Operations research analysts24.6%25,600$86,200
Actuaries24.5%6,800$111,030
Health specialties teachers, post-secondary24.3%58,900$99,090

Wind turbine service technicians have the fastest growth rate, with solar photovoltaic (solar panel) installers taking the third slot. The rapid growth is driven by demand for renewable energy. However, because these are relatively small occupations, the two roles will account for about 11,000 new jobs collectively.

Nine of the top 20 fastest growing jobs are in healthcare or related fields, as the baby boomer population ages and chronic conditions are on the rise. Home health and personal care aides, who assist with routine healthcare tasks such as bathing and feeding, will account for over one million new jobs in the next decade. This will be almost 10% of all new jobs created between 2020 and 2030. Unfortunately, these workers are the lowest paid on the list.

Computer and math-related jobs are also expected to see high growth. The BLS expects strong demand for IT security and software development, partly because of the increase in people that are working from home.

The Top 20 Fastest Declining Jobs

Structural changes in the economy will cause some jobs to decline quite quickly. Here are the top 20 jobs where employment is expected to decline the fastest over the next decade.

OccupationPercent employment change, 2020–2030PNumeric employment change, 2020-2030PMedian annual wage, 2020
Word processors and typists-36.0%-16,300$41,050
Parking enforcement workers-35.0%-2,800$42,070
Nuclear power reactor operators-32.9%-1,800$104,040
Cutters and trimmers, hand-29.7%-2,400$31,630
Telephone operators-25.4%-1,200$37,710
Watch and clock repairers-24.9%-700$45,290
Door-to-door sales workers, news and street vendors, and related workers-24.1%-13,000$29,730
Switchboard operators, including answering service-22.7%-13,600$31,430
Data entry keyers-22.5%-35,600$34,440
Shoe machine operators and tenders-21.6%-1,100$30,630
Legal secretaries and administrative assistants-21.0%-33,600$48,980
Floral designers-20.1%-8,500$29,140
Executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants-18.7%-100,600$63,110
Manufactured building and mobile home installers-18.4%-600$35,120
Telemarketers-18.3%-21,900$27,920
Order clerks-18.2%-24,400$35,590
Timing device assemblers and adjusters-17.8%-200$36,170
Print binding and finishing workers-17.5%-7,300$34,260
Prepress technicians and workers-17.1%-4,800$41,410
Tellers-16.9%-73,100$32,620

Eight of the top 20 declining jobs are in office and administrative support. This could be cause for concern, given this category currently makes up almost 13% of employment in the U.S.—the largest of any major category. Jobs involved in the production of goods and services, as well as sales jobs, are also seeing declines.

In all cases, automation is likely the biggest culprit. For example, software that automatically converts audio to text will reduce the need for typists.

While the fastest declining jobs typically fall within the lower salary range, there is one outlier. Nuclear power reactor operators, who earn a salary of over $100,000, will see employment decline at a steep rate of -33%. No new nuclear plants have opened since the 1990s, and nuclear power faces steep competition from renewable energy sources.

Warning: Education Required

As the composition of employment shifts, it eliminates some jobs and creates others. For instance, while production jobs are declining, new opportunities exist for “computer numerically controlled tool programmers.” These workers develop programs to control the automated equipment that processes materials.

However, while many of the fastest growing jobs are higher paying, they typically also require advanced education.

 Top 20 Fastest Growing JobsTop 20 Fastest Declining Jobs
# with median salary > $41,950175
# with post-secondary education required 160

Seventeen of the top 20 fastest growing jobs have a median salary higher than $41,950, which is the median salary for all jobs in total. Most also require post-secondary schooling. These opportunities are replacing jobs that only required a high school diploma.

With tuition costs soaring relative to inflation, this could create challenges for displaced workers or young people entering the workforce.

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Demographics

Population Boom: Charting How We Got to Nearly 8 Billion People

In the next year or so, humanity is expected to pass the 8 billion person milestone. These charts and maps put global population growth into context.

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Today, the global population is estimated to sit at 7.91 billion people.

By the end of 2022 or within the first months of 2023, that number is expected to officially cross the 8 billion mark. Incredibly, each new billion people has come faster than the previous—it was roughly only a decade ago that we crossed the 7 billion threshold.

How did we get here, and what has global population growth looked like historically?

In this series of six charts from Our World in Data, we’ll break down how the global population got to its current point, as well as some big picture trends behind the data.

#1: Mapping the Population Over 5,000 Years

New York, São Paulo, and Jakarta were not always bustling metropolises. In fact, for long parts of the history of civilization, it was unusual to find humans congregating in many of the present-day city locations we now think of as population centers.

The human population has always moved around, seeking out new opportunity and freedoms.

5,000 years of population movement

As of 3,000 BC, humans could be mainly found in Central America, the Mediterranean, the Fertile Crescent, and parts of India, Japan, and China. It’s no coincidence that that agriculture was independently discovered in many of these same places during the Neolithic Revolution.

#2: The Hockey Stick Curve

For even more context, let’s zoom way out by using a timeline that goes back to when woolly mammoths still roamed the Earth:

Annual World Population since 10,000 BC

From this 10,000-foot view, it’s clear that human population growth started going exponential around the time of the Second Agricultural Revolution, which started in the 17th century in Britain. This is when new technologies and farming conventions took root, making it possible to grow the food supply at an unprecedented pace.

Soon these discoveries spread around the world, enabling population booms everywhere.

#3: The Time to Add 1 Billion

The data and projections in this chart are a few years old, but the concept remains the same:

Time to Add 1 Billion in Population

It took all of human history until 1803 to reach the first billion in population. The next billion took 124 years, and the next 33 years. More recent billions have come every dozen or so.

So why then, are future billion people additions projected to take longer and longer to achieve?

#4: The Growth Rate is Shrinking

Because of demographics and falling fertility rates, the growth rate of the global population has actually been on a downward trend for some time.

Falling Population Growth Rate

As this growth rate gets closer to zero, the population curve has become less exponential like we saw in the first graphs. Population growth is leveling out, and it may even go negative at some point in the future.

#5: The Regional Breakdown

Although the rate of population growth is expected to slow down, there are still parts of the world that are adding new people fast, as you can see on this interactive regional breakdown:

Since 1973, Asia has doubled its population from 2.3 billion to 4.6 billion people.

Comparatively, over the same time frame, Europe has gone from 670 million to 748 million, equal to just an 11% increase.

#6: The Present and Future of Population Growth

Population projections by groups like the United Nations see the global population peaking at around 10.9 billion people in 2100.

World Population 1700 to 2100

That said, there isn’t a consensus around this peak.

Organizations like the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) have a different perspective, and they have recently modeled that the global population will top out at 9.7 billion people by the year 2064.

As we climb to surpass the 8 billion mark in the coming months, it will be interesting to see what path humanity ends up following.

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Demographics

Mapped: The Geography of Global Literacy

Global literacy mapped by generation, as well as a look at how the data on literacy has changed over time by country.

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Mapped: The Geography of Global Literacy

Literacy is a fundamental building block that can lead to a strong education, the ability to solve complex problems, and gaining the skills and knowledge to participate meaningfully in society. As a result, it’s also an important facilitator of economic development.

However, it’s estimated that nearly 800 million adults around the world still lack basic literacy skills—and this can create ongoing drag on the economy.

In the U.S., as one example, the people with the lowest literacy scores are 16.5x more likely to receive financial aid from the government. At the same time, they are also more likely to be in the lowest earning wage group, earning less than $300 per week.

Today’s post uses charts from Our World in Data, and it shows what literacy looks like on a global scale, and how is it shifting from generation to generation.

Global Literacy: The Big Picture

Over the past two centuries, global literacy has seen steady growth.

In the year 1800, it’s estimated that a mere 12.1% of the world was able to read and write. The most recent data shows the numbers have actually flipped—and now just 13.8% of the global population is illiterate.

It’s clear that from a high level, progress towards global literacy is being made.

But at the same time, a look at the graph shows that in more recent years, the rate of change has been slowing as we reach the “last mile” of literacy.

The Generational Perspective

Learning to read and write is easiest and most fruitful at a young age, and it’s a skill that is very unlikely to be lost later in life. For that reason, it’s worth looking at the difference between older and younger generations in terms of who is learning these skills.

For this, we zoom into the Middle East and Northern Africa region, which is where the majority of recent gains in literacy have been made:

Illiterate population by generation

Here, the difference in literacy between the 15-24 year age group and those over 65 years is substantial, with countries seeing large, double-digit increases in the ability to read and write:

  • 🇩🇿 Algeria
    The literacy rate is at 92% for the 15-24 age group, compared to 16% of the oldest generation
  • 🇮🇷 Iran
    99% of the 15-24 age group is literate, while 29% of the oldest generation can say the same
  • 🇴🇲 Oman
    98% of those aged 15-24 are literate, compared to just 23% in the 65+ age group
  • 🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia
    98% of those aged 15-24 can read and write, versus 26% of those in the oldest bracket
  • 🇪🇷 Eritrea
    The literacy rate is at 90% for the 15-24 age group, and 18% for those in the 65+ age group

It’s not that surprising then, that the above countries all now sit in the 75-95% percent range for overall literacy—a number that will likely improve further as education systems continue to help younger generations become literate early in life.

The Literacy Opportunity

While some countries have seen obvious generational improvements in literacy, there are places in the world where changes to educational systems have not fully yet manifested yet, or perhaps the data is not yet available for.

According to the interactive map above, here are some places on each continent where progress must still be made:

  • North America
    Literacy rates: 🇭🇹 Haiti (61%), 🇬🇹 Guatemala (79%), 🇳🇮 Nicaragua (82%)
  • South America
    Literacy rates: 🇬🇾 Guyana (88%)
  • Europe
    Literacy rates: 🇽🇰 Kosovo (92%)
  • Asia
    Literacy rates: 🇦🇫 Afghanistan (38%), 🇵🇰 Pakistan (56%), 🇧🇩 Bangladesh (61%), 🇾🇪 Yemen (70%)
  • Africa
    Literacy rates: 🇳🇪 Niger (19%), 🇬🇳 Guinea (30%), 🇸🇸 South Sudan (32%), 🇲🇱 Mali (33%), 🇨🇫 Central African Republic (37%), 🇸🇴 Somalia (38%), 🇧🇯 Benin (38%)
  • Oceania
    Literacy rates: 🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea (62%)

With many NGOs and educators focused on this problem, there is hope that the “last mile” of global literacy can be solved, leading to more economic opportunity in these places—and also the world itself as a whole.

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