The average age of a person, world-wide, is nearly thirty years of age. This ranges from a low of approximately eighteen years in some African nations to a high in the mid-forties in Japan and Germany.
The United Nations expects this to shift older as the century moves on toward 2100. Those African nations where the average age is now nearly 18 are predicted to have average ages in the early 30s by the end of the century. In India, expected to have the highest total population in the world by 2100, the average age is predicted to be about 44 years of age (it is now approximately 26). The overall world average age is expected to increase from 29.2 to 41.2.
Life expectancy continues to rise. Overall life expectancy at birth rose from 47 years in 1950-1955 to 69 years in 2005-2010. According to the latest report, this upward trend is expected to continue, with life expectancy at birth projected to reach 76 in 2045-2050 and an impressive 82 years in 2095-2100.
This fact – that a person born in 2100 will expect to live thirty-five years longer than one born 150 years earlier – has far-reaching implications beyond the number of candles burned in her honor. For one thing, the longer each person lives, the more people there will be on the planet. Moreover, those extra thirty-five years, unfortunately, are not all going to be years of prime health and life. Some of them will be years of ill-health and decline, when this individual is unable to work and needs support, healthcare, assistance with basic needs… in other words, years in which he or she is a burden to society, not a productive member of it. Plus, as a population ages, there are fewer people of childbearing years to build the next generation to support these elderly, and the situation gets more precarious.
In a world of 11 billion people, many of them in developing areas, how will we, as human beings, deal with this? We need to start thinking about it now before it’s too late.