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Demography: a Key Challenge throughout the World

In the 20th century the world's population doubled twice. Moreover, it has risen from 2 billion in 1930 to 7.3 billion today and is expected to reach 9.5 billion by 2050. And according to the UN projections 86% of the world population will be concentrated in less developed regions of the world. Another important factor will concern the impact of the changing age structure. By 2035 more than 1.1billion people will be above the age of 65 (from 600 million today). It should also be noted that even the emerging world as a whole will see its collective old age dependency rate double to 22% by 2035. The world rising population obviously will increase pressure on resources and, more generally, on the environment. It is already clear that in this field we are pretty close to a breakdown situation. Indeed, according to the WWF human populations currently consume 25% more natural resources than the Earth is able to produce. Of course the consumption will remain highly unequal between developed and developing countries. Here are the big challenges we face in the 21st century : a growing human population but also an expanding older population. To that must be added that it will be an increasingly urban population which means an increasing number of unmanageable mega-cities, especially in Asia and in Africa. Governments across the world will be subject to a double pressure. To start, an increasing pressure on public finances due to substantially higher expanses generated by population aging. Then, the continued pressure on natural resources due to general population growth rate. Those challenges will require an imaginative and compelling vision of global governance.

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