In 2035 the world’s population will be larger, older and more urban than today, but change will progress unevenly across regions, with rapid growth in many promising but still-developing economies offset by stalled growth—or even shrinking populations—in many developed countries. These trends will challenge the former to provide infrastructure and opportunities for their growing populations and the latter to use technology to minimize their need for new workers and to smoothly integrate migrants from developing countries who seek improved prospects.
Five demographic trends will potentially underpin domestic instability and interstate political frictions during the next two decades: chronically youthful states; mass interstate/interregional migrations; transitions through demographic phases; advanced population aging; and majority-minority differential growth.The paradox of progress referenced in the title is that global prosperity has increased at the same time that the world has become more dangerous. I noted recently that Max Roser's graphs remind us that the world is indeed a better place than it used to be, but that doesn't mean that we can just sit back and relax. Demographic change is all around us, generating challenges and opportunities at the same time. Adapting to these changes, rather than ignoring them, is the key to future success.