To say that Japan's population will shrink over the next 83 years is an understatement. According to official state figures, the country will go from about 126 million people today to about 50 million in 2100, a 60% plunge.

Moreover, the makeup of Japan's population will utterly change, too. From about 15% of the population, people 65 and older will be 35% in 2100. And the working age population whose salaries are supporting the old will plunge: in 1970, Japan had 8.5 workers to support every retired person; in 2050, the number will be 1.2.

As you see in the chart below, these numbers reflect the trend in most of the world. Right now, the median age across the planet is around 29. In 2100, it will be 42. When you exclude Africa, the whole world will be, on average, 60 or older in just over three decades.

Expand chart
Data: United Nations, World Population Prospects; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

All of which is to say there is good reason for the development of elderly care robots. Many robot companies are focusing on just this area of development. Among them is iRobots, the makers of the Roomba robot vacuum. Watch this video of iRobots CEO Colin Angle, speaking to Axios about how the elderly can "age gracefully in place."

What can robots do? Either now or soon they will be able to:

  • Take grocery orders and pick them up
  • Keep the house tidy
  • Check vital statistics and report when things go wrong
  • Provide company of a sort
  • Supply chauffeur services

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In photos: Ruth Bader Ginsburg lies in state at Capitol

A bipartisan group of female lawmakers line the steps of the Capitol as Ginsburg's casket is carried to a hearse. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

The late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg laid in state at the Capitol on Friday, the first woman and the first Jewish person to receive such an honor.

Driving the news: After a ceremony in National Statuary Hall, Ginsburg's casket was carried down the building's steps — flanked by a group of bipartisan female lawmakers for a final farewell.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2:30 p.m. EST: 32,356,829 — Total deaths: 984,813 — Total recoveries: 22,278,696Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2:30 p.m EST: 6,997,468 — Total deaths: 203,147 — Total recoveries: 2,710,183 — Total tests: 98,481,026Map.
  3. States: "We’re not closing anything going forward": Florida fully lifts COVID restaurant restrictions — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tests positive for coronavirus.
  4. Health: Young people accounted for 20% of cases this summer.
  5. Business: Coronavirus has made airports happier places The expiration of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance looms.
  6. Education: Where bringing students back to school is most risky.

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