Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

July 21, 2009


Guardian, UK - The world is about to cross a demographic landmark of huge social and economic importance, with the proportion of the global population 65 and over set to outnumber children under five for the first time.

A new report by the US census bureau . . . shows that within 10 years older people will outnumber children for the first time. It forecasts that over the next 30 years the number of over-65s is expected to almost double, from 506 million in 2008 to 1.3 billion – a leap from 7% of the world's population to 14%. Already, the number of people in the world 65 and over is increasing at an average of 870,000 each month.

. . . An important finding of the report is that the wave of ageing that has until recently been considered a phenomenon of the developed world is fast encroaching on poorer countries too. More than 80% of the increase in older people in the year up to July 2008 was seen in developing countries.

By 2040, the poor world is projected to be home to more than 1 billion people aged 65 and over - fully 76% of the world total.


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