Jun 10, 2019

The global fear of too few young people

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A new concern is taking hold across the developed world: rapidly aging populations that scare policymakers.

Why it matters: Population growth is key to maintaining demand for housing, filling jobs yet to be automated, and paying into pension systems pressed by demographic realities and slowing economic growth.

  • "You basically have a very large portion of mankind that is aging and then the workforce is shrinking. But I would say the G20 in particular are aging faster," said Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development secretary-general Angel Gurria. (AFP)

The big picture: Some countries — like the U.S. — are feeling these issues less thanks to immigration. Others — like China and Japan — are more restrictive and feeling the bite in projected growth.

  • As societies get richer and women get more rights, they work more and have increased access to contraceptives.
  • While Europe and East Asia are already projected to lose population by 2050, the Western Hemisphere will mostly add people, and Africa's population is projected to soar, per UN projections.
  • The developing world is predicted to bear the brunt of climate change impacts, including potential political instability, meaning many more people might want to move to developed countries.
  • As we've seen in Europe and the U.S. in recent years, that isn't going well.

The bottom line: Earth has plenty of workers to do the jobs we need, just not in the countries where the jobs are right now. Fixing that mismatch is shaping up to be a central political challenge for the upcoming decades.

Go deeper: Special report... The aging, childless future

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The race to catch Nike's Vaporfly shoe before the 2020 Olympics

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Four months ago, on the very same weekend, Eliud Kipchoge became the first human to run a marathon in under two hours, and fellow Kenyan Brigid Kosgei shattered the women's marathon record.

Why it matters: Kipchoge and Kosgei were both wearing Nike's controversial Vaporfly sneakers, which many believed would be banned because of the performance boost provided by a carbon-fiber plate in the midsole that acted as a spring and saved the runner energy.

Go deeperArrow33 mins ago - Sports

Reassessing the global impact of the coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Economists are rethinking projections about the broader economic consequences of the coronavirus outbreak after a surge of diagnoses and deaths outside Asia and an announcement from a top CDC official that Americans should be prepared for the virus to spread here.

What's happening: The coronavirus quickly went from an also-ran concern to the most talked-about issue at the National Association for Business Economics policy conference in Washington, D.C.

Tech can't remember what to do in a down market

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Wall Street's two-day-old coronavirus crash is a wakeup alarm for Silicon Valley.

The big picture: Tech has been booming for so long the industry barely remembers what a down market feels like — and most companies are ill-prepared for one.