Migration and population are explosive topics. Add in the debates about population control and this area becomes rather political. But has population growth already been reversed?
Half the world’s women are having two children or fewer, so within a generation the world’s population could be falling. Then there is the ageing society and ticking retirement time bomb to consider. In the not-too-distant future we will see the workforce span four generations.
Smaller Family Sizes
Kevin Kelly has predicted that: “By 2060 the total population of humans on earth will be less than it is today.” The biggest drivers of the shift from large families to small families are communications technology and education. As these influences come into play the switch to lower birth rates accelerates faster than demographers predicted. And this trend looks more permanent. Current estimates of the world’s peak population are based on a set of assumptions that don’t factor in the major role played by globalisation.
The Baby Boomers are a hot commodity. Instead of putting their feet up they are morphing into generation ‘SYLO’ – Staying Younger Longer. This very active group is accustomed to being heard and living at the centre of the action. Having spent their adult lives in a world of global mobility and connectivity, they won’t settle for traditional retirement. They certainly don’t plan to stop working. Some will contribute within the community to obtain a sense of ‘giving back’, while others embark on a second career – fulfilling their dream scenario.
The Informed ‘We’ Community
This alternative ageing pattern could, in some cases, mean a rise in ‘trans-generational’ families. With kids and elderly parents to care for, there’s a possible solution to rescue us all: kids, parents, elders and pets all under one ‘happy active roof’. This will certainly change our lifestyles, and possibly also make our value sets evolve. Last century saw the rise of a ‘me-centred’ youth society. The grey century ahead is all about a more inclusive and informed ‘we-oriented’ community – making us wiser and kinder and perhaps greener too.
“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter” – Mark Twain
– Social Trends: Constantly up-dated the latest society trends in the UK
– The Arena for Long Term Predictions: >>
– Our Ageing Population: How the falling birth rate will affect global demographics. If the 20th century was the age of the young, the 21st-century will see the rise of the wrinklies. >>
– The Pinch: by David Willetts is a hard-hitting account of the generation that took the houses, jobs and welfare – and is having all the fun. Baby boomers who were born between 1945 and 1965 “stole their children’s future” through their cultural, demographic and political dominance. >>
– Peoplequake: Mass Migration, Ageing Nations and the Coming Population Crash by Fred Pearce. Wherever we look, population is the most challenging driver on the political agenda. But while prominent voices cry out for population control, few realise that the population bomb is already being defused. Half the world’s women are having two children or fewer. Within a generation, the world’s population will be falling. And we will all be getting very old. So should we welcome the return to centre stage of the tribal elders? Or is humanity facing a fate worse than environmental apocalypse? Brilliant, heretical and accessible to all, this book takes on the matter that is fundamental to who we are and how we live, confronting our demographic demons.
1. SELBY exhibition at Colette Paris >>
2. Gabriel Orozco, Tate Modern
3. MoMa New York >>
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