Did you know that before the 19th century no country in the world had a life expectancy of more than 35 years?
It’s no secret that life expectancy has more than doubled around the world since then.
- In Oceania from 35 years to 79 years
- In Europe from 34 to 79 years
- In the Americas from 35 to 77 years
- In Asia from 27.5 to 73.6
- In Africa from 26 years to 63 years
How did that come about?
Since industrialisation took off in the 19th century, life expectancy improved substantially owing to the proliferation of basic sanitation standards such as the safe disposal of human waste, garbage collection, wastewater treatment and industrial waste management. Basic hygiene practices and modern medicine are not to be discredited either.
With more than 55% of the world population now living in urban areas, basic hygiene practices have been essential in upholding the health of individuals, preventing the spread of diseases and ensuring a high standard of food safety. Meanwhile, the development of treatments for preventable diseases saw child mortality reach all-time lows, while advances in modern medicine saw longevity reach all-time highs and old age become more liveable.
The modern world has given us the gift of time, something that alchemists only dreamed about but it also came with various structural problems to untangle. One such structural problem is ageing populations, which is described by the UN as the most significant social transformation of the 21st century with implications spanning across all sectors of society.
More notably, increasing longevity and declining fertility are the key drivers of ageing population globally. With some experts calling it a ‘demographic time bomb’, the way our world works requires a complete overhaul. That’s particularly true when it comes to the way we think about retirement savings and wealth preservation.
What do you believe to be the sectors of society most affected by this demographic time bomb? What particular geographies?
What changes are needed within different sectors of society to overhaul this issue? Within what geographies?
Do you identify any trends/industries/companies addressing this problem?