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Between 2 Geeks: Episode 1 - The ups and downs of demography

Tariq Khokhar's picture

Between now and 2050, Africa will add over 1 billion people to its population.

That’s a startling statement about something that’s 30 years in the future. One group with a record of making such long-range projections is demographers like Dr. John May with the Population Reference Bureau.

In our discussion with John, he explains that the growth and structure of populations is linked to one fundamental issue: mortality rates. When infant and child mortality rates decline, fertility rates also eventually decline and population growth slows down. And as life expectancies increase, the share of older people in a country’s population goes up.

But it turns out things are a bit more complicated than that, and there are large implications for public policy that are ultimately driven by demography.

Even when a region like Africa has declining fertility rates, “population momentum” means that countries will continue to grow. With this growth comes the need for better infrastructure, services, and crucially, jobs.

By one estimate, the global economy will need to add 600 million jobs over the next 10 years - mostly in Africa and Asia - just to keep up with young people entering the workforce.

So how is demography shaping our future, and how can we make it the future we want?

This episode of Between  2 Geeks is hosted by Tariq Khokhar & Raka Banerjee, and produced by Richard Miron. You can chat with us on twitter with the hashtag #Between2Geeks , listen to new episodes on the World Bank Soundcloud Channel and  subscribe to “World Bank’s Podcasts” in your podcast app or on iTunes.

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