Ageing Population: The Demographic Time Bomb of the 21st Century

Hi Pynksters :bulb:

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 :mage: 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?

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Medicine and technology play a big part. There are more tests available to determine health issues and more medicines/ medical procedures to alleviate/cure them. So, I think those areas will benefit. Others, like tobacco,sugar will suffer.

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Honestly Razvan? I don’t care that much. I am just counting on Elon to bring me on that little red planet that we use to call Mars like the snack that I adored and establish a brand new Anarchist Planet away from the fall of the I-Robot era. :joy::joy::joy::joy::joy:

Jokes apart…

Health sector in my opinion will be the most affected for sure. Personal care too. Many old people will have to cure their little deseases and because they will live longer they will also want their young appearence to last longer…for those willing to live their life in the real life.
This because I also think that we are going towards a READY PLAYER ONE kind of scenario…maybe NOT in a so extended way but in the end that technology will be for sure used in mass. So…no matter where you are in the world you are connected directly with HI TECHS Hospitals all over the world. (Remember this statement in 10+ years or so).

I have not digged yet into this…i’d search in the direction of nanotechnologies, avatarization and the already established health companies gianing more and more weight.

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Health care sector and technology sector will be most affected in my opinion.

I think that particulary Virtual Reality or AR technology will have a massive impact on old people in retirement homes in pretty near future.
Except for entertainment purposes it can be used in health treatments even today.

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I think that in this discussion fits very well the approaching so called “technological singularity”.

I don’t know if this term is familiar to you. Basically it is an idea from some of the most prominent scientists, futurologists of today, like Ray Kurzweil, which states that in a decade or so (not too far) we as humans could be surpassed by AI entities.

This is not a catastrophic view because in the end this new species will like humans and will take care of us.
In a way they will work instead of us, will bring food on our tables and so on.

This is to say, that without wearing jobs and having our phisical condition monitored steadily, life expectancy should become even longer but many of our CONSUME HABITS will also be most probably dictated from something or someone which is not us as humans.

HIGHLY reccomend to you this 15 mins. mindblowing video guys:

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Well apart from more preasure on health sustaining companies, I can see another issue.
You have basically young people missing - everyone wants to be manager or IT guy or the president of the universe now and noone wants to dig holes, do menial jobs and if they do, they suck at it… So who will be doing basic constructions, selling in supermarkets, etc.?

Yeah, you can use foreign force but people dont like it - im from Czech republic and as for refugees, we took like 11 of them in past years and everyone is bitc*ing about it…
You cant force people to have kids - so you need to bring in people from abroad and here we go - companies connected to this migration of labour force, integration of foreigners into society, … will see new boom in my opinion - well if we manage to stop being so xenofobic or there isnt any war soon.

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Hi all,

I think it’s worth looking at Japan, they are a couple of decades ahead of the rest of the world in this respect.

Automation and robotics looks good.

Healthcare, but more in the preservation of fitness, beauty and good health, rather than hospitals. So, this could include food, fortified with supplements. Novel gene therapies and drug delivery.

Platforms for enabling work opportunities for seniors. Leisure activities, until this year cruise lines had hope.

In general, we can divide older age into 4 stages: 1. still in some form of employment but enjoying life, 2. fully retired and enjoying life, 3. getting by independently with limited activity, 4. need support due to frailty and poor health. All of them offer business opportunities.

Most countries in Europe, Japan and China are affected. The USA has a relatively younger population, but still offers probably the largest and wealthiest market.

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Reading that statistic you’d think our ancestors were dropping like flies in their 30’s/40’s :smile:

People, once they got through infancy, lived to a respectful age. It’s the large infant mortality rates of the time which skew the averages.
So I’m not sure we’re living twice as long, we’re just a lot better at surviving the early years :man_shrugging:

As it’s been mentioned here already, the public sectors are going to feel the impacts of aging populations more keenly ; hospitals; care facilities; transport etc.
You’ve got to think China will be adversely affected more than most as a consequence of the CCP’s policy of one family / one child, there’s going to be a lot of elderly with fewer young to care and fund the older generation.

I think @skruszonybankster’s views on Japan are spot on, they’re using technology and the general superior health of the nation (compared with the West anyway) to their best advantage.

Here comes a favourite in the Pynk community : A.I The ability for robotics to do much of what will be needed to care for the elderly , freeing up certain people to work elsewhere.

As @romczacz points out :

I think most of those jobs will be taken up by A.I & robotics, scarily within a decade :scream:

A recent M.I.T study found that for one robot, 3.3 jobs were taken over, so there’s your shop worker, hole digger, accounts clerk etc taken care of. :astonished:

As technology broadens, I’m guessing people would still be able to contribute to the workforce as we’re getting more tech savvy. A lot of the physical jobs will be mechanised, but if there’s still openings in I.T and you’ve still got your faculties intact ( :rofl:) I don’t see a reason someone couldn’t work on a few more years.

Definitely see rising demand for quality ready prepared & delivered meals for the elderly. A company in the UK, Parsley Box, have ditched frozen meals in favour of a sous vide ( I’m sure @Al_Wallace can explain this one :wink:) cooked meal where the food is kept at ambient temperatures, like a cupboard, for months at a time.

Leisure firms looking to the grey pound will do well too.

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Great post Stefano, the way the World is at the moment I’d guess half the damn planet couldn’t pass the Turing Test never mind robots! :rofl: :rofl:

Inevitably, I think humans them selves will evolve through transhumanism into a sub set of humanity. :scream:

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Ufff, oh man this one is a really complex problem @RazvanPaun :sweat_smile:

What do you believe to be the sectors of society most affected by this demographic time bomb? What particular geographies?

The declining-fertility-rates / increased-life- expectancy problem affects nations differently, as of 2020 about half the population of the world lives in countries with overall declining fertility rates, but there are others - mostly in Africa and Latin America - where fertility rates are well above the current 2.45 births per woman globally. This problem will hit hardest the developed countries in Europe and Asia.

What changes are needed within different sectors of society to overhaul this issue? Within what geographies?

In relation to my previous answer, the most obvious solution as mentioned by @romczacz, is to increase liberal immigration policies, which is kind of the exact opposite of what’s going on right now. Immigration is a difficult issue among nations but we must accept it is uncontainable. Instead of focusing on containment policies, it would be wiser to focus on assimilation - which I recognize depends not only on the receiving nations but on immigrant groups as well. In the end, and against all the policing, walls, and deportations, the surplus of one nation becomes the workforce of another. It’s human nature; developed nations might as well benefit demographically from this.
Inequality in our societies needs to be addressed along with changing gender roles. Couples in optimal life-bearing age cannot cope with the economic burden of children and either opt-out or postpone. Women sometimes decide to not have children because they’re happier with their careers.
We overestimate this concept of women being able to have children safely well into their 40’s and we underestimate the impact the ever-increasing intake of chemicals from daily life has on the reproductive capacity of humans. It is now common for women to have severe hormonal disbalances, making pregnancies more difficult, or even people becoming straight-out infertile due to some chemical intake.
Also, family policies need to be far more progressive for adoption by making eligible non-married couples, same-sex couples, single parents, or basically anyone with a sincere desire to be a parent. This actually would help a lot in the assimilation issue mentioned above.

Do you identify any trends/industries/companies addressing this problem?

Not many come to mind except companies developing reproductive medicine, developing treatments for age-related diseases, fertility & in-vitro clinics

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Ahhahahahaah that’s right ahahahah…and unfortunate. :sweat_smile::joy:

I was just watching a video podcast featuring David Sinclair which is one of those scientist into the epigenetic research.
It is very interesting to see and ear from him many news about the edge of ageing science on the planet.

He also goes into very specific categories of research around the min. 20, where he disclose a study about reverse ageing researches trough genes and some labs experimenting the same with PILLS. :exploding_head::exploding_head::exploding_head:

Around the same time or ten mins later…can’t remember he mention specific areas of research that people could invest in (maybe PYNK could be interested?)

Later at min. 45 he goes into projections of life expectancy and tells basically that more or less we are gaining 3months for each year we are living due to the fast progress into epicgenetic.


Here the video

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Interesting topic @RazvanPaun! I think that ageing populations is a real problem everywhere in the whole world. There are countries where given the poverty degree, most people only want to have one or two childs and on the other hand, we have the case of China where, until just a few years ago, by state policy, people was forced to have only one child: now they are requesting to have at least two just because they realized (too late if you ask me) about the disastrous consequences and the side effects of an ageging population over the economy and some sectors of society.

Still we have developed countries where the cost of living is so high that people do not want to have more that one or two childs. So as we can see the poverty degree in some cases do not have too much to do with some choices made by couples regarding having more childs or not, although it influences in a certain way.

An uneven correlation between increased life expectancy and decreased birth rate has brought with it a rapid increase in population ageing ratio…and i agree with some fellow Pynksters here that healthcare systems will be among the most affected sectors of all given the huge impact will have the elderly care system in years to come.

I think too that those sectors/industries dealing with tasks improving the life of older people will benefit from this trend: pre-made food, home delivery, tourism, entertaining industries and if we think twice those one dealing with investment opportunities because many retired people always look for any chance to multiply their hard earned money and secure a better life that way.

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Medicine will continue increasing this problem, but it is natural for the human being to try to live as many years as possible.

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This trend will definitely continue with deeper understanding of the effects of diet and exercise, people living generally healthier lives and smoking fewer cigarettes. Advances in modern medicine will also be able to keep our bodies going on for longer.

One of the main effects of this is on healthcare and the costs associated with caring for an elderly population. In the UK many don’t have sufficient pensions to cover their living expenses. As they become less able to look after themselves they either rely on close family to care for them or they need to sell their property to pay for some other care arrangements. There have been many purpose built care facilities and villages for elderly people with various levels of care. I only see the number and size of these increasing as the problem of an aging population increases.

One of the issues as well is that there are not enough careers to cover this demand and their time to look after people is limited. Maybe in the future robotic careers or assistants may become a thing, it may be a bit cold and heartless but it might relieve some of the strain on the human careers. This may be less of an issue in countries where the culture is more for families to care and look after the elderly members.

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Roman… Do you think this might be an angle where robotics and automation brings hope rather than problems?

There’s always a fear that this technology taking jobs is going to lead to mass unemployment and potentially revolution and riots as a result… hence the discussions about Universal Basic Income to mitigate such problems.

But if the 'bots are only taking away the kind of jobs young people no longer want to do, then it really might free them up to do the more creative things where humans have a (possibly) sustainable advantage against the robots.

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I think the food sector will be affected just as much as the health sector would. People are becoming more concious about what they take into their bodies. In my country and other african countries, there is a growing trend in the demand for natural stuff, from hair products to home cooked meal.

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In the Philippines, the number of older people is increasing rapidly, faster than growth in the total population. In 2000, there were 4.6 million senior citizens (60 years or older), representing about 6% of the total population. In two decades, this has grown to 9.4 million older people or about 8.6% of the total population. The World Population Prospects 2019 projects that by 2050, older people will make up around 16.5% of the total population.

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