A demographic futurist explains how communities, products, services, and economics are changing in order to adapt to population changes, the likes of which are being seen and navigated through for the first time in recorded history.
Today, Italy, Japan, and Germany have already reached the Super Age, and another ten countries will have gone over the tipping point in 2021. Thirty-five countries will be part of this club by the end of the decade. This seismic shift in the world population can bring about a period of tremendous growth—or… leave us behind.
Schurman explains how changing demographics will affect government and business and touch all of our lives. The forced retirement or redundancy of older workers could impact businesses by creating not only a shortage of workers but leave huge gaps in experience, leaving younger workers without proper mentors, which would likely lower the quality of goods and services, it would also drive wages up and result in inflation. Corporations, too, must rethink marketing strategies—older consumers are already purchasing the majority of new cars, and they are a growing and vitally important market for health technologies and housing. Architects and designers must rethink their designs as the intergenerational family model begins to supersede the nuclear family model of the 1950s.
If we as a society aren’t prepared for the changes to come, Schurman warns, we face economic stagnation, increased isolation of at-risk populations, and complete depopulation of rural communities. With some proper steps and adjustments to this shift, we can plan now to harness the benefits of the Super Age: extended and healthier lives, more generational cooperation at work and home, and new markets and products to explore that help people of all ages and ability levels thrive. The choice is ours to make.