With this entry, we end GT2030.com’s series of essays entitled “Population Aging to 2030”. Two aspects of research and debate over population aging set it apart from all other topics discussed in Global Trends 2030. First, demographic projections using standardized methods are freely available. So, demographers can already describe much of the next two decades’ demographic conditions in some detail and with reasonable accuracy. Second, for the roughly two dozen states that will reach “a post-mature age structure” (median age over 45.0) before 2030, no historic parallels exist. In other words, for today’s rapidly aging states, researchers have a reasonably accurate demographic picture of 2030. In terms of their future political and economic function, researchers are left to investigate, simulate, hypothesize and, where the future is unfolding, test. History provides no lessons.
While one can take away a variety of images of the future from the 11 essays presented in “Population Aging to 2030”, a single message cuts through them all: even discounting the myriad political, social, environmental and economic issues that are restructuring human society, demographic change–by itself–is sufficient to make the world of 2030 a distinctly different world than the one in which we live today.
The five themes that were posted were:
- Global population aging to 2030 (2 essays);
- A demographic and geographic overview (R. Cincotta);
- A global overview of aging-related security issues (J. Goldstone).
- China’s aging trend (2 essays);
- Advanced aging in Europe (3 essays);
- On the economic dynamics of aging in European welfare states (R. Lee & A. Mason);
- On implications of European population aging on NATO (M. Haas);
- On the staying power of Europe’s aging liberal regimes (R. Cincotta).
- Advanced aging in Japan and S. Korea (2 essays);
- Immigration and ethnic change in aging Europe (2 essays);
- An verview of immigration to Europe and its impacts on ethnic composition (D.A. Coleman);
- A view of the EU ethnic future and its implications (E. Kaufmann).
Richard Cincotta & Jonathan Potton
The Stimson Center, Washington, DC