Thursday January 14, 2010

UN: Elderly to Outnumber Children for First Time in 2045

By Kathleen Gilbert

January 14, 2010 ( – A new report from the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs concludes that the number of elderly people worldwide will outnumber children for the first time in 2045, forecasting the start of a “demographic winter” some experts say could constitute the biggest international crisis in the coming century.

According to the report, “World Population Ageing 2009,” 22% of the world’s population will be older than 60 years within forty years – a jump from 11% in 2009, and 8% in 1950.

A trend of low birth rates perpetuated worldwide with the ascendancy of contraception and abortion has caused the elderly population to increase by 2.6% per year – three times faster than the overall world population growth. The 60+ age group will triple its size at the beginning of the millenium, reaching 2 billion by 2050.

The UN noted that the imbalance will have a major impact on the worldwide working-age community – upon whom it will fall to support the disproportionately aged population. The dramatic shift in demographics, they said, will impact life in various aspects, including economic growth, investment, consumption, pensions, taxation, and health care.

“As children account for a declining proportion of the population, there may be a reduction in the number of schools just as the increasing share of the older population begins to require more long-term care facilities,” wrote the authors of the report. “In the political arena, population aging may shape voting patterns and political representation.”

Pro-family leader Don Feder at the January 2009 March for Life Rose Dinner warned of a coming free-fall of birth rates and the attendant economic devastation, saying it “could result in the greatest crisis humanity will confront in this century.”

“Simply put: humanity is failing to reproduce itself in sufficient numbers to maintain our civilization,” said Feder.

He pointed out that the children missing from today’s low birth rate, who would have otherwise had children and grandchildren of their own, “will create an ever-accelerating downward spiral” of population.

“Schools will be turned into nursing homes. Playgrounds will become graveyards,” said Feder – words echoed in the UN report.

“Who will run our factories and farms?” he asked. “where will the police, doctors, nurses and emergency personnel come from? …

“Over the past 200 years, the world’s population grew from 980 million to 6.5 billion. That population explosion fueled every advance from the industrial revolution to the computer age,” Feder continued. “But what happens when populations begin to decline?

“We’ve built a civilization that depends on people – and lots of them. What happens when more and more becomes less and less?”

See related coverage:

Demographic Winter: “Schools will be turned into nursing homes. Playgrounds will become graveyards.”

New Documentary Exposes Link Between Failing Global Economy and Demographic Winter

New Documentary Explores Global Demographic Crisis

New Stats: Europe Facing Demographic Winter, Growing Political, Economic Tensions