Ever since the first humans on Earth originated two million years ago, humanity has seen significant changes. Many more people are roaming the Earth; currently, people’s life expectancy has significantly increased, people have mastered the art of building cities, and more people have gained the mobility to change their place of residence. Nevertheless, the current status quo will not remain. In the decades and centuries to come, the lives of humans will change even more. More specifically, there are four major demographic trends that are shaping the lives of people in the future: population growth, aging, urbanization, and migration. More specifically, the world is projected to have a larger population, increasingly more older people, and more people who live in cities. More people are projected to migrate, both voluntarily and involuntarily. These trends are not happening in isolation but rather interacting with one another, making demographics a complex field of study. This chapter aims to dig deeper into the four megatrends of population growth, aging, urbanization, and migration to make this complex concept more understandable.
6.1. The Future of Gray Hairs: Aging Populations
“OK, boomer” has become a statement that Generation Z uses to dismiss older people who they feel simply do not understand them.  Baby Boomer, Millennial, and Gen Z are labels that have become ingrained in daily society. These generational terms are not only related to people’s ages but are often related to the generations’ perceptions of each other and the world around them. 

If there was a competition based on the size of age categories, the graph ‘Global population by broad age group, in 1980, 2017, 2030, and 2050’ would show how the winners and losers have changed over time. By 2050, children (ages 0–9) will be in last place with a team of 1.4 billion members. The youth and adolescents (ages 10–24) will be in third place with 2 billion members, and just above, coming in second, will be the oldest group, comprising 2.1 billion individuals. Adults (ages 25–59) will receive the gold medal, making up the largest population group.

However, the world is not a competition; all the different age-groups should try to live harmoniously. With respect to the different age-groups that comprise the world, the biggest changes are happening in the oldest group. There will be more people between the ages of sixty and eighty, and the number of people older than eighty will almost double.

Therefore, let us further zoom in on this development. How does, and will, aging impact the world at the global and regional levels? How do people feel about the prospect of getting older? And finally, what will enable people to age happily and healthily? In this section, the process of aging will be explored. 
Global population by broad age group, in 1980,  2017, 2030, and 2050 
6.1.1 Global And Regional Developments
The rate at which the world population is aging is unprecedented. By 2050, it is projected that there will be 2.1 billion older people; double the number compared to 2017.  While in 2019, those sixty-five-year-olds and over constituted only one in eleven people in the world; in 2050, one in every six people on Earth is expected to be over sixty-five.  The world is aging, and it is aging rapidly. The combination of extremely low birth rates, immigration, and moderate mortality is leading to this rapid aging of the population together with population decline in many countries of the world.  This is largely thanks to improved understanding of health, hygiene, and technological and biomedical progress.  These developments are not only increasing people’s life spans but also making their overall quality of life better.
population division world population prospects 2019  
In 1999, Futurist Ray Kurzweil predicted that human life expectancy would rise to “over one hundred by 2019 and to 120 by 2029.”  While this prediction did not come true, it is undeniable that life expectancy has been rising all over the world. In 1999, at the time of this prediction, the average global life expectancy was 65.91 years. Since then, global life expectancy has risen to 72.81 years. In the future, this upward trend will continue. By 2050, the average person on Earth is predicted to reach the age of seventy-seven. In 2100, a person on Earth is expected to blow out eighty-one candles!  As mentioned, a higher life expectancy is not the only contributing factor to an aging population. Developments in life expectancy do give some insight into the overall health of a country and region, however, and are important to consider.
life expectancy by region, 1950-2050 
With respect to life expectancy, the graph ‘Life expectancy by region’ illustrates that it is indeed rising all over the world.  The additional years that have been added to lifespans are not gained at the end of people’s lives. Dr. Laura Carstensen at the Stanford Center on Longevity, states that these “extra” years have been added to the middle of life.  This means that the additional years people are experiencing are experienced in relatively good health. While population aging is a global phenomenon, depending on the geographical region someone lives, there may be some differences.
number of persons aged 65 years or over by geographic region, 2019 and 2050 
In Africa, even though the older population constitutes a smaller proportion of the total population than is the case in other regions of the world, the absolute number of older people is expected to almost quadruple between 2015 and 2050, from 29 million to 108 million.  Declining fertility and increasing longevity are the key drivers of population aging globally. In some countries and regions, international migration also contributes to the aging of the population. In Eastern Europe, people often leave their regions to work in other countries. Therefore, in Eastern Europe, which is experiencing a large immigration outflow, the aging process is accelerated.  This is because it is younger people who are more likely to emigrate for work. On the other hand, countries experiencing large immigration flows can slow the aging process. Although immigration often has a rejuvenating effect on the age structure of the population of receiving countries, it cannot halt or reverse the long-term process of population aging. 
6.1.2 Perceptions Toward Aging
“You are such an old grump!” and “Aw, what a sweet old lady!” are statements illustrating the variety of stereotyping toward older people. While the fact that people can live longer is an amazing feat in human progress, it does not come without its own set of challenges. Most stereotypes related to aging are negative or slightly condescending. Aging is often associated with a lesser quality of life, deteriorated mobility, and forgetfulness, among other things. As explored in the labor economics section, aging can also put pressure on financial and health infrastructure. Also, aging does not only impact the world at a societal level. On a more personal level, the process of getting older can feel daunting for people. The concept of a midlife crisis is a popular plot point in Hollywood movies. First coined in 1965, a midlife crisis is the psychological crisis brought about by events that highlight a person’s growing age, inevitable mortality, and possibly the lack of accomplishments in their life.  It typically occurs among those between 35 and 65 years old.  Research findings on how common midlife crises are, and even the existence of the phenomenon, are very mixed. According to some studies, midlife crises can affect people of any gender. One study found that they are not found in all cultures, while another study finds they are a global occurrence, which means that there is no consensus yet.  Despite midlife crises being quite common in popular culture, midlife crises are rarer than previously expected.  According to ​​Michael Kimmel, an American sociologist, the midlife crisis does not exist and “is a myth.” 

Regardless of whether a midlife crisis exists or not, negative stereotyping toward elder people is a fact. According to Becca Levy, associate professor of epidemiology at Yale, negative stereotypes about aging “are a public-health issue.”  Findings show that negative age stereotyping impacts behavioral outcomes among older adults more strongly than positive age stereotyping.  Such negative age stereotyping about the elderly may be more pervasive in some cultures than in others.  In some cultures across the world, elders are highly respected and have a special role in life. In Korean culture, for example, Confucian teachings such as filial piety and respect for the elderly are important elements in society.  In tribal communities, elders are considered the “wisdom-keepers” and are held in the highest regard.  In fact, through different stages in life, people are excited about the future and getting older. Children cannot wait to get older; youth and adolescents save up for the future so they can finally quit work and retire; and partners in romantic relationships dream of growing old together. Overall, it seems as if people have a desire to live a longer life but that they do not want to be or feel older. This might be attributed to the fact that feeling and appearing older leads to experiencing more stereotyping and can remind people how much of their lives have passed by.

+ Elias Sohnle Moreno
The taboo around death in Western societies strongly influences our fear of aging. The shared tacit denial of our own vulnerability and mortality makes us react negatively to the exposure to the inescapable prospect that is common to all humans: death. It could be interesting to investigate whether societies that cultivate less taboo around death also experience less fear of aging and ageism.

6.1.3 Ageism - Discrimination & Abuse
One in six people 60 years or older has experienced some form of abuse in community settings, in 2020. Globally, the number of cases of elder abuse is projected to increase in many countries due to rapid aging. If the percentage of elder abuse remains constant, the global number of victims will increase to approximately 320 million by 2050. 

Ageism is prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of a person’s age. It leads to poorer health, social isolation, earlier deaths, and costs economies billions; a WHO report calls for swift action to implement effective anti-ageism strategies. Older people are often assumed to be frail or dependent and a burden to society.  Among older people, ageism is correlated with poorer physical and mental health, increased social isolation and loneliness, greater financial insecurity, decreased quality of life, and premature death. Ageism seeps into many institutions and sectors of society, including those providing health and social care, in the workplace, media, and the legal system. 

In healthcare, a systematic review (literature search carried out in a structured manner)​ of the year 2020, illustrated that in 85% of 149 studies, age determined who received certain medical procedures or treatments, to the disadvantage of older people.  In the workplace, both older and younger adults are often disadvantaged, and access to specialized training and education declines significantly with age.  Moreover, the digital divide can further alienate older people from the rest of the world. The term digital divide refers to a divide in who uses digital technology and who does not as well in terms of how easily they can navigate digital technology.  In today’s increasingly digitized world, ageism can also seep in among older adults. The WHO recommends policies and laws that address ageism, educational activities that enhance empathy and dispel misconceptions, and intergenerational activities that reduce prejudice to combat ageism and enable healthy aging.  Ageism evidently has some serious negative effects. From the perspective of individuals who are getting older, how do people deal with aging?
6.1.4 Anti-Aging Market
“You aged like fine wine” is one of the highest compliments regarding appearance a relatively older person can receive. Although aging is inevitable, people try not to let the aging process be visible in their appearance. Anti-aging cream, wrinkle cream, and taking certain vitamins are all promoted in order to slow down the aging process (so people can maintain their beauty and youthfulness). With a growing portion of the world aging, the anti-aging market is projected to grow significantly. From $194.4 billion in 2020, the global market size for anti-aging is set to cross $422.8 billion by 2030.  A variety of products fall under anti-aging: anti-wrinkle, anti-stretch, hair color, anti-cellulite devices, anti-wrinkle treatment, anti-pigmentation, and skin resurfacing among others.  The Asia-Pacific region will see the fastest anti-aging market growth due to the rising volume of cosmetic procedures, partly because of swift urbanization and a growing population. 
anti-aging market — growth rate by region 
Procedures like facelifts, Botox, and eyelid surgeries are also becoming more common. In fact, experts recommend people start sooner rather than later. Doctors recommend starting the use of anti-aging products, as well as procedures, to people in their twenties and thirties before the effects of aging become too evident.  But what if it were not only possible to slow down the aging process but to reverse it? No, it does not require stepping into a time machine. It does require some manipulation of cells and genes; however, scientists have succeeded in making old organisms and even mice younger (see picture below).  The approaches to reverse aging are currently being developed to also be suitable for humans. It will probably take at least fifteen years before these technologies are ready to be used in humans. 

+ Chadia Mouhdi
If you are interested in seeing this with your own eyes take a look here: link

+ Elias Sohnle Moreno
Strange times to be alive.

Whether reverse aging should be promoted in the first place is a question in itself. Too much altering of cells and genes may lead to some unwanted consequences.  Reverse aging is not a reality (yet). All the signs point toward people getting older. So, how can a long, healthy, and happy life be promoted with the tools that are available today?
6.1.5 Aging Healthily and Happily: The Blue Zones
There are five places in the world where residents seem to have uncovered the secrets to healthy and happy aging. These places are Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece, and Loma Linda, California. National Geographic fellow Dan Buettner uncovered these places and dubbed them blue zones. These blue zones are the places in the world where people live the longest and are the healthiest. One thing these blue zones have in common is that they are all located in a warm, mild, and temperate climate. While not everyone in the world will have similar weather circumstances, someone can still integrate some blue-zone philosophy principles into their life. Buettner and a team of demographers found that these blue zones have nine specific lifestyle habits in common, called the “Power of 9.”  These habits are:

1. Moving naturally. The world’s oldest people live in environments that constantly nudge them to move without thinking about it.
2. Purpose. Supposedly, knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy.
3. Downshift. Having routines to shed stress.
4. 80% rule. Stop eating when their stomachs are 80% full.
5. Plant slant. The diet cornerstones of most people in blue zones are beans. Meat is eaten only five times a month.
6. Wine @ 5. People in all blue zones drink alcohol moderately and regularly, one to two glasses a day.
7. Belong. Almost all centenarians (people who are older than 100 years) from Dan Buettner’s study, belonged to a faith-based community. Research shows that attending faith-based services four times per month will add four to fourteen years of life expectancy.
8. Loved ones first. Most centenarians in blue zones put their families first. They keep aging parents nearby, commit to a life partner (which can add up to three years of life expectancy) and invest in their children with time and love.
9. Right tribe. The world’s oldest people chose or were born into social circles that supported healthy behaviors.

+ Cato Hemels - Hoff
If you are interested in learning more about blue zones and the Power of 9, there is a fascinating, informative website about blue zones:

power of nine 
6.1.6 How Will Healthcare Cope?
Even though life expectancy has increased, the proportion of life spent in good health has remained broadly constant, implying that the additional years added to our lives are those in poor health.  When the additional years a person experiences are spent in good health in a supportive environment, older people’s ability to do what they value will not be that different compared to younger people. If declines in physical and mental capacity are very prominent in people’s additional years on Earth, the implications for older people and for society are more negative.  So, how can we ensure that our lives, which are only getting longer, will be spent in good health? According to a report by Deloitte, as more precision treatments, cures, and preventive medicine techniques for diseases (for example, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes) are developed, health care will need to shift to focus on mental and behavioral health, suicide, loneliness, and social isolation throughout one’s life span and especially as people age. 
6.1.7 Where and How Will the Elderly Live?
“Healthy aging is more than merely the absence of disease and entails also the maintenance of key functional abilities throughout the lifespan”, ​​as explained by former WHO general director Margaret Chan.  To achieve this, it is key that health and long-term care systems are aligned to meet the needs of an increasingly aging population. The focus should be on maintaining older people’s capacity to lead independent lives.  In fact, “Older people’s living arrangements are an important determinant of their economic well-being, physical and psychosocial health and life satisfaction.”  Older people who live alone or reside in institutions are associated with having higher overall mortality risks than those living with a spouse or other family members.  The majority of older people in Northern America and Europe live independently. Most older people in these countries prefer to live independently if their health allows it.  Independent living does not mean that there is no family support or that they have an increased mortality rate.  Often, older people and their children live relatively close to each other and help each other financially and through informal care.  In most less-developed countries, the majority of older people live with their children or extended family members. In many of these countries, there is a lack of comprehensive social protection programs. Along with declining labor market prospects for older people’s adult children, co-residence of older parents with their children is important in maintaining financial, emotional, and care support within families.  Since living arrangements are, generally, a reflection of individual needs, preferences, and resources, there is no single best policy to enable independent lives.

Technological advances are not only impacting the living arrangements of people, in general, in smart cities but also improving living conditions within homes. Smart-home devices among others can enable more comfort as well as facilitate energy and cost savings. For older people, new technologies based on AI allow them to live independently, contributing to a higher level of life satisfaction and quality.  According to the WHO, one in three people in the world over sixty-five years of age falls every year, and half of them fall at least twice.  There are many factors that might lead to them falling. Environmental risk factors related to the design and arrangement of a space, are perceived by older people as direct causes of falls.  By designing a space in line with the concept of smart homes, safety for seniors can be improved in homes. Smart-home technologies allow older people to be independent, contributing to a higher level of satisfaction and quality of life.  Some examples of smart-home initiatives that contribute to an improved quality of life for older people are home security cameras to monitor who is coming and going, smart lighting in hallways, and smart plugs with timers to ensure that devices are on only when appropriate and necessary. 

While smart technologies seem like a very promising avenue to improve the quality of life of older persons, there are some challenges in the implementation. Older people might be unwilling to learn a new technology, lack confidence with technology, dislike the technology due to frustration, and fear or not be able to afford the maintenance or replacement of the technology.  For older people, there is no single best policy for where and how to live as they continue to grow older. Some may prefer to live alone, while others find comfort in other family members. As the role of technology is also becoming more pronounced in homes, this enables older people to live more independent lives. Nevertheless, some may be wary of such technologies within the confines of their homes.

All in all, the world will continue to age rapidly over the coming decades. From the perspective of those aging, this may be difficult at times as they might want to maintain their youth and associate aging with something negative. Nevertheless, advances in technology, lifestyle, healthcare, and living conditions might enable people to age more happily and healthily.
6.2 Growth and Degrowth - Dealing with Changing Demographics
Population growth is dull on paper but everyone has an opinion on it. Many sustainability spokespersons, including David Attenborough, Jane Goodall, Carl Sagan, Malala Yousafzai, Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King Jr., and Stephen Hawking, have been of the strong opinion that a multitude of global problems cannot be solved without controlling the rate at which our world’s human population is growing.  Some argue that we cannot meet the challenges of climate change, while others in the United States are afraid that we cannot pay the pensions of our elderly when nearly 25% of the country is above the age of sixty-five post-2060 (see graph ‘Millions of people sixty-five and older in the United States, projections up to 2060’). In some countries, Germany and Japan, for example, the national population is projected to keep declining, bringing with it a wide range of problems other than those which population growth is riddled with already. And the cherry on top seems to be that scientific discoveries and improvements in healthcare are ensuring that people around the world will live longer and longer.  What are the challenges ahead? Is there cause for pessimism or room for optimism? This section will address this issue through four different angles: depopulation, growth, life expectancy, and pensions. One thing is for certain, the questions that come with population growth (or lack thereof) are anything but dull.
Millions of people sixty-five and older in the United States, projections up to 2060 
6.2.1 Depopulation - Shrinking Countries
High-and-middle-income countries have seen a steady decline in population growth since 1968.  In the near future, this trend will be most apparent in Eastern European and Balkan countries. Bulgaria takes the lead with a projected 22.5% population decline between 2020 and 2050; Lithuania’s population is projected to shrink by 22.1% over the same period, Latvia’s by 21.6%, Ukraine’s by 19.5%, and the list goes on and on.  Causes for depopulation are as varied as the different cultures of the countries named above: mass migration out of the country, low birth rates, aging populations, high mortality rates, and many more. Other countries are still growing but are projected to depopulate over the next few decades. For example, Germany’s population is projected to decline from 2025 onwards.  India will begin depopulating much later, starting to shrink from 2060 onwards.

+ Diede Kok
Part of this trend is the anti-natalism movement. In 2006, South African philosopher David Benatar's book 'Better no never have been: the harm of coming into existence.' His title may be considered controversial and pessimistic, but the sentiment of 'what kind of world am I bringing a child into?' is growing.

For those who feel inclined to agree with Benatar, I implore you to recognize the growth in wellness, healthcare, and education humanity has reached over the last century. And the decline of violence, war, and crime. I believe that, although there is pain and harm in the world, there is yet more good to experience and contribute to. In the eternal words of Fred Rogers: "Always look for the helpers." Link

Keep in mind that these expectations are mere projections: independent researchers make predictions, the UN makes predictions, and individual countries make predictions. These projections differ based on the variables used in their methodologies. For example, different models are used for countries where HIV/AIDS is prevalent, and the most recent UN report (2019) did not take the Covid-pandemic into account. Thirty countries are already dealing with depopulation in 2021 (see the footnote for a list of these thirty).  There will be unforeseen future events that drastically change the course of demographics for specific countries. But if these projections come to fruition, the countries of the world need to evolve their institutions to meet the reality of a changing world.

If one scans the Internet for doomsday scenarios that await the world when the average global fertility rate dips below 2.0 and the great curve of population growth makes a slow decline like a rocket tumbling down to Earth closer to the X-axis of the global demographic graph, one need not look for long. Because of this, this section seeks to find the positives of a depopulating Earth.

One positive is the fact that female empowerment and depopulation have a lot in common. David Attenborough framed it as follows: “One thing you can say is that in places where women are in charge of their bodies, where they have the vote, where they are allowed to dictate what they do and what they want, whether it’s proper medical facilities for birth control, the birth rate falls.”  Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, coupled female empowerment with a second, equally important point: “When girls are educated and when they stay in schools, they get married later in their lives, then they have fewer children and that helps us to reduce the impacts of climate change that the population increase brings.”  So here are two problems that are strongly related to depopulation: the rights of women and climate change. The world is a closed system with finite resources. Exponential population growth is impossible to maintain over the coming centuries, as Stephen Hawking calculated, “We will be standing shoulder to shoulder in 2600,” and not as a symbol of solidarity, but literally. 

Fred Pearce, author of The Coming Population Crash and Our Planet’s Surprising Future, summed up stagnating population growth as the potential for a calm period after decades of upheaval, because “In the past, these stable eras all involved high death rates, high birth rates, and male dominance. Now we have the chance of a low mortality, low fertility future.”  In conclusion, depopulation is projected to be a reality for both the developed and developing world in the coming decades. It will bring with it new challenges, some of which will result in negative outcomes. However, there are also problems that will be partially solved by a world with a slowly declining population.
6.2.2 Unrestricted Growth & Population Control
While depopulation is the projected course for many countries in the long run, in the short term, the world is still dealing with a rapidly expanding human population. The Oxford initiative Our World in Data, projects that there will be 10.9 billion of us by the end of this century.  Unlimited population growth in a world of finite resources is impossible, and Stephen Hawking’s exponential example, mentioned in the introduction, of a world in the year 2600 where we literally live shoulder to shoulder, seems unpleasant to say the least. However, all current projections indicate that the population of Earth will also begin declining at the end of this century. Of course, there are negative aspects to the growth of the global population. The emissions of greenhouse gasses, the depletion of natural resources, and less world-threatening nuances such as increased traffic and population density. However, there is also room for optimism.

Paul Morland, the author of The Human Tide, wrote about a clear distinction that must be made; while the global population continues to grow, and slowly declines in around eighty years, human innovation need not.  The average human will be older, and there will also be more of them, but it is more than likely that those of us that are around at the fin the siècle of this age of technology and innovation will be highly educated, have stronger networks, and greater access to information.  This means that our farming and land use has the potential to be much more efficient as well. With vertical farming and other innovative solutions, the crop yield per hectare has the opportunity to explode, meaning we can give back land to nature, decreasing the tension we put on our essential natural resources. Morland’s thesis can be simply summarized as “If efficiency grows faster than population then sustainability can be enhanced, whether it is more fuel-efficient cars or better storage and transport of food.” 

However, it must be stated that the population discussion is one we need to have. Currently, the topic is political poison. Those who think we can grow forever are called naive, and those who call for a “population policy” are called dictators. However, Italian researcher Maristella Bergaglio points out in her research on the relationship between population growth and sustainability that it is paramount that the UN SDGs are not blind to demographic developments. In her estimation, the SDGs should promote the factors that drive demographic change: family planning, empowerment of women, education, and health improvements.  Bergaglio ends with a call to include population growth as an independent variable for assessing our progress on sustainability; we can’t ignore the topic if we wish to be prepared for a busier Earth.

However, a strict child policy is not a clear indicator for sustainability processes. For example, Nigeria has a fertility rate of 5.212 births per woman.  The country’s government is trying to lower this to an average of four births per woman. However, Nigeria’s 206.1 million citizens emit a mere 0.8% of the global total, as opposed to the 329.5 million Americans who emit 15.6% of the total global GHG emissions.  Population-controlling policies often target poorer countries; take the Chinese one-child policy that ended in 2016, for example. Instead, economically prosperous (and therefore ecologically polluting countries) need to incorporate female empowerment mechanisms of family planning, education, and medicinal improvements to tackle population growth where it matters. In short, Bergaglio is correct with regard to the conversation about population growth that needs to take place, but it must be remembered that the impact of population growth on climate change depends heavily on where that child is born.
6.2.3 Life Expectancy - Will We Still Die?
Humanity nearly doubled its life expectancy during the twentieth century, from forty years to seventy. This feat has never before been accomplished in human history. And according to Yuval Noah Harrari, author of Homo Deus, we have the potential to reach 150 years at some point in the future. 

“Today, people still expect to be married ‘till death do us part’, and much of life revolves around having and raising children. Now try to imagine a person with a lifespan of 150 years. Getting married at forty, she still has 110 years to go. Will it be realistic to expect her marriage to last 110 years?” 

Realistically, a life expectancy of 150 is hard to reach. So far, the increase in life expectancy has not come from modern medicine extending our life expectancy but, rather, from preventing premature deaths. Not even curing cancer would be enough to reach a life expectancy of 150. A distinction also needs to be made between life expectancy and lifespan. Life expectancy is a statistical tool. For example, child mortality plays a big role in the much lower life expectancy before modern medicine. A widely held assumption is that ancient Romans and Greeks had a life expectancy of between thirty and thirty-three years. That does not mean that a thirty-year-old was considered old back then. It mostly means that on average, war, famine, and disease killed many more people than they do now. For example, the Greek poet Hesiod wrote more than 2700 years ago that the perfect time to marry was when you were around thirty years old. Equally, the Roman position of consul had an age threshold of forty-three, eight years older than the prerequisite age to become U.S. president.  What this means is that when a child survives childhood, and when a country produces enough food, and a citizen is not thrown into war, a person was expected to reach a very old age even back then.

To show just how much child mortality has changed over the past century, writer Fred Pearce wrote in 2011 about his birth in 1951: “Back when I was born, 150 babies out of every thousand died before their first birthday. I could have been one of them. Now only fifty die.”  The impact of disease was even larger. It took over 300 years to wipe out malaria in England, but in Sri Lanka, the task was completed in merely five. As a result, life expectancy in Sri Lanka rose from forty-seven to sixty years over the same period. Pearce writes that this “was the statistical equivalent of everlasting life: every year you lived, you could expect to live two more.”  Why is it important that life expectancy be projected correctly? Because research points out that the American Social Security Administration currently underestimates male life expectancy by three years and female life expectancy by eight, and the discrepancy is projected to cost $3 to $8 trillion more for Medicare and Social Security.  In an age where Sri Lankans can be statistically immortal, it is important to know just how old we can get.

But what about the future? Paul Morland, mentioned in the Growth section, stated that the future will be “more gray, green, and less white.” “More gray” because life expectancy is still on the rise.  For example, in South Korea, life expectancy has risen an astonishing twenty-two years since 1960. The middle-range UN forecast projects that the median age there will be forty by the end of the twenty-first century, which is twelve years more than it is today. Where countries such as Ethiopia and Syria are currently dominated by young adults aged between eighteen and twenty, by the end of the century, the median age will be twice that. The impacts of this change in demographic makeup, caused by rising life expectancy mixed with low fertility rates, will produce a society we have never seen before. While television shows now appeal to younger generations because they still form the majority, the romantic comedy of the future could star only older people because they will make up the largest target audience.
Positively, the world is most likely to be a more peaceful place as the average citizen grows older. There is a large correlation between a young population and crime (see graph ‘Age distribution of homicide offenders across three historical periods, United States’). Morland’s research points out that not all young societies are violent, but all old societies are peaceful.  Furthermore, according to Morland, the increase in life expectancy coupled with low fertility rates will make children a rarity. And when there are fewer children around, they have more adults to look after them and invest in them. On the other hand, societies will also be less innovative and risk-taking. This is, of course, a mere prediction. However, the older segment of society is more likely to invest in bonds than in equity, meaning that a higher life expectancy will impact the fluctuations of the economic market heavily as well. 

+ Stefanie Sewotaroeno
This is exactly what crossed my mind when I started reading this chapter. I have seen the new generation explicitly expressing their wish to not have children on social media. Even married couples are happy with their dogs and do not in the slightest desire to have children.

This doesn't seem to be a modern thing, although I do think that modern issues are fueling this. The Washington Post published an interesting article about women having fewer children throughout history:

Age distribution of homicide offenders across three historical periods, United States 
6.2.4 Pensions - Can We Afford to Become This Old?
What will pensions look like in the coming decades? As previous sections have indicated, the future will be gray. That does not mean it will be boring but it does mean there will be many more old people around; this is both due to falling fertility rates and rising life expectancy. According to researchers Goodhart and Pradhan, writers of The Great Demographic Reversal, the retirement age is likely to rise above seventy in the coming decades.  It is hard to imagine manual labor undertaken by someone well into their seventies: going down the pole like a fireman, working in construction in the scorching sun, or running after suspects as a police officer, etc. Still, it is financially difficult to retire in your sixties when state pensions are low due to a sea of gray. According to Goodhart and Pradhan, the best way to retire earlier is to have strong individual savings on top of state pensions. However, it is difficult to convince young people in their twenties to save up for the last decades of their lives, especially with a growing cost of living and stagnant wages.

Two good indicators for personal savings are (i) trust in the state’s ability to provide a state pension, and (ii) the expected duration of retirement. It is noteworthy that due to these two indicators, an average Chinese citizen has a very high personal savings rate.  A final complication the two writers add is the trend in the West of children living at home for a longer period of time. This causes the parents to have fewer opportunities to save for their own retirement. Although this development can work in both directions; it is also possible that due to the absence of rent for the children, the wealth of the household overall increases. 

Due to low expectations for pension funds in the future, as well as higher life expectancy, labor participation of the “young-old” (meaning people between the ages of sixty-five and seventy-five) rose over the last years and is expected to rise even further. However, there is a limit to how high the working segment of the “young-old” can increase. For example, the increase over the last decades mostly came from the increased participation of women; meaning that now women have largely caught up, the “young-old” working population is not growing as fast as in previous decades. 
With regard to the future, it is hard to make accurate predictions; instead, there are many platforms that have made strong recommendations for healthy pension policies based on economic and demographic projections. One such research project was conducted in 2021 by Aegon, a Dutch banking and insurance group. Their research comes with innovative solutions for the future. One idea is to provide government “credits” for unpaid time in caregiving roles.  Now, when a working citizen takes care of related elderly such as their parents, their own pension suffers while benefiting the pension of those they take care of. Providing these caretakers with pension credit for such work rectifies this issue, which is sorely needed in a society that is rapidly aging. Another idea is for societies to reform their urban planning so that the elderly can “age in place.” This means changing urban planning to adapt to the changing demographic shift, ensuring that citizens can grow old without having to move to care centers far outside of their previous residences.  One thing is hard to dispute: the world’s pensions schemes are in for a paradigm shift. With many demographic factors changing rapidly in this century, it is an enormous task to keep up with current developments.

+ Sam Slewe
Another massive challenge is to investigate the gender pension disparity. In the Netherlands, for example, women receive a pension that is 40% lower than men's. The Netherlands is not the only country that has this gender gap. So, if these demographic factors can be 'handled' in the future of pensions, more has to be done to solve the gender gap.

6.3 The Future of Cities - Developments in Urbanization
Imagine wanting to go outside for a walk. Under normal circumstances, someone would simply have to put on some shoes and, if necessary, a jacket. Instead, imagine having to put on a pressure or space suit to take a walk outside. This walk becomes even less ordinary since someone will be walking at a pace half of what they normally would.  This could become a reality for people living on Mars in the coming decades. Elon Musk plans to have one million people living on Mars by 2050. Sending people more than 370.38 million km away is not an easy endeavor. Significant technological advances have to be made to enable the project. Furthermore, a significant amount of resources would have to be allocated to make moving to Mars possible. In 2019, Elon Musk estimated that the total costs could be between $100 billion and $10 trillion. For reference, it is estimated that it could cost $330 billion to end world hunger, and estimates for costs to halt climate change by 2050 range between $300 billion  and $50 trillion. 

Conditions also have to be optimal in order to send people to Mars. When Earth and Mars are closest to each other, the journey takes three months given that it is possible and permissible to fly a nuclear-powered rocket.  The difficulty is that this optimal time slot only happens once every twenty-six months. In order to get a million people to Mars by 2050, we would have to start at the latest by 2040 and send 100,000 people per Earth-Mars orbital sync.  NASA also aims to land the first humans on Mars by 2035.  The journey to living on Mars does not end simply after people have arrived on the planet. In fact, the journey just begins. Tremendous amounts of resources and cargo ships have to be sent to the planet, and new ways of building infrastructure by relying on local resources instead of fossil fuels have to be imagined.  Finally, everyday products such as ballpoint pens have to be adjusted in order to be suitable for conditions on Mars.  Even if operations to colonize Mars run smoothly, billions of people have to make the most of what is left of/on Earth. So, before people set out into the universe, let us explore how life on Earth and, more specifically, life in cities will develop over the coming years.

On average, the world is set to become more urbanized in the future.  Urbanization refers to the population shift from rural to urban areas, the corresponding decrease in the proportion of people living in rural areas, and the ways in which societies adapt to this change.  It is a complex and dynamic process, which interacts with the other key demographic factors: population growth, aging, and migration. Economic, social, and political trends also interact with urbanization, creating a dynamic context for the functioning of cities, towns, and metropolitan areas.  In such a complex and dynamic environment, many questions can be raised. What will urbanization look like in different regions across the world? What will life in cities be like? And what will the city of the future look like? These questions will be explored in the following sections.
6.3.1 Global And Regional Developments
In the decades to come, many people will see considerable changes happening in their lifetimes across cities. A simple trivia fact such as Tokyo, with its 37 million residents being the city with the most inhabitants worldwide, will no longer hold in the future. Delhi is projected to continue growing, while Tokyo’s population is declining, which will make Delhi the most populous city in 2028.  Moreover, currently, megacities—cities with more than 10 million inhabitants—are relatively rare. There are ten megacities across the world. By 2030, in only eight years, it is expected that the world will have forty-three megacities, most of which will be in developing regions. 

At the moment, around 56% of the world’s population is urbanized. By 2050, it is expected that more than two-thirds of the world’s population will live in urban areas.  In 2050, seven out of ten people on Earth will live in urban areas. In absolute numbers, the combination of population growth and urbanization are estimated to add another 2.5 billion people to urban areas by 2050. This is equivalent to two times the current population of India, the world’s second most populated country. Close to 90% of the increase in world population will take place in Asia and Africa. 

Although the world at large is increasingly urbanizing, there are some differences between regions. Within regions, countries, and cities, there is even more variation with respect to urban developments. Cities in Eastern Africa will face enormous pressure to accommodate an urban population that in 2050 is projected to be five times greater than it was in 2010.  Sub- Saharan Africa will be majority-urban by 2035 and may be just over 58% urban by 2050. A typical African city will more than double its population over the next three decades, and many villages and towns will transform into large urban centers. The West Asian North African region will almost double its urban population from 275 million to 497 million by 2050. In all countries in South Asia except Sri Lanka, the total population will continue to increase beyond 2050, driven by urban population growth. The Eastern Europe and Central Asia region is the only region in the world experiencing both a decline in its total population and its urban population. Latin America, where almost 80% of the population lives in cities, is the most urbanized region in the world alongside North America. Soon, urban centers will face an aging and shrinking population. The majority of cities will experience population decline in their city centers until 2050. 

The Covid-19 pandemic clearly illustrated how a virus can spread more easily in big metropolitan cities. Early in the pandemic, many people moved away from dense cities to other areas.  Many people were confined to their homes for work and school and could not engage in social activities or even go outside the house due to lockdown restrictions. Such drastic changes highlighted how small someone’s world could become despite being located in a previously large and vibrant area. While some people speculated that it was the end of cities, others did not envision such drastic changes. Cities are likely to remain at the center of the global economy.  In fact, some of the deurbanization patterns that emerged early in the pandemic have mostly gone back to normal. So, while there are some factors that might lead to de-urbanization patterns, it is still indisputable that the world will continue to urbanize in the future.

All in all, cities will continue to grow in the decades to come. In some places, it will be challenging to accommodate the world’s growing population in the relatively concentrated and small surface of cities. Other regions, on the other hand, will have to develop ways to combat the consequences of an increasingly aging and shrinking urban population. Living in a world with more people in the future, of whom the majority will live in cities, poses the question of what life will be like then. How can cities enable safe and good quality infrastructure and affordable housing for all residents? How can cities provide good quality of life for residents in dense areas? In a world where sustainability is increasingly emphasized, it is also important to consider what the implications of urbanization are for the Earth and its resources.
6.3.2 Quality of Life in Cities
On a given day, people in cities can go outside without having to speak a word to another person. When stepping out the door, someone may not say a word to their neighbor who they barely know. After doing some grocery shopping in silence and using a self-checkout machine, they may head home to work since hybrid working is the new standard. After having worked hard and getting tired from sitting behind a screen all day, they might be craving some take-out. They might go to their favorite food-ordering app and have their food delivered in a matter of minutes to their doorstep. In the evening, they might decide to go to the 24/7 self-check-in gym, which also requires no human interaction. This day in the life illustrates how modern city living is both efficient and convenient, while also being quiet and perhaps lonely. In a world where more people call cities their home, it is important to understand how people’s quality of life will be affected.

Living in the city is associated with higher life satisfaction compared to rural areas. On average, 18.6% of residents in cities are satisfied with their lives, compared to 16.5% of residents in rural areas.  Moreover, urban residents tend to enjoy a higher quality of life compared to rural residents.  Generally, urban areas bring about certain economic, social, and environmental benefits. On the production side, city density is associated with agglomeration economies, which make firms and workers more productive than in other locations. Density in cities also enables innovation through spillovers, which are harder to measure but also deemed substantial. Moreover, on the consumption side, higher density brings many goods and services closer, lowering travel needs. Socially, density allows for the development of a rich variety of attractions to capitalize on the wide range of interests of residents.  Another benefit of urbanization toward denser cities is that residents emit less GHG and fewer particles due to changes in the amount and form of transport and more energy-efficient construction.  In a world that is increasingly urbanizing, all of this may seem like good news. Nevertheless, living in the city is not as rose-colored as it may seem at first glance.

Some of the downsides of city life include greater exposure to pollution and diseases. Moreover, greater crowding and congestion, more costly floor space for residents and firms, and scarcer green space imply that city density also has downsides. Currently, the socio-psychological implications of urbanization are still poorly understood. Some studies have found that city life can be linked to a lower sense of community and a lack of relationship with the environment.  There is also a strong indication that urban people are more likely to report mental illness and depressive symptoms than rural people.  Finally, gentrification can also occur in urban areas, which is the process in which older working-class neighborhoods are converted to serve higher-income households. 

In some areas of the world, urban growth is happening at an explosive rate. Intense urban growth can result in greater poverty where local governments are unable to provide services for all people.  Combined with climate change, this can make city life even more vulnerable for certain groups of people. For example, in times where climate change more drastically leads to environmental shocks, coastal cities are at a very high risk of flash flooding and other extreme weather events.  The concentrated energy use in cities also leads to greater air pollution with a significant impact on human health. Some other environmental consequences of urbanization are growth promoting the loss of urban tree cover and animal populations losing their habitats and food sources.  While this may seem like a very daunting prospect for cities, technological developments shed some light at the end of the tunnel.
6.3.3 A Roof Over Our Heads?
In order to enjoy a high quality of life, the housing and living arrangements of people are important. In the current housing market, becoming a homeowner is becoming a more and more distant reality. Currently, housing prices are astronomically high. In the EU, rent prices rose by 16% and house prices rose by 34% compared to 2010. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), low interest rates, and policies by governments and workers’ greater need to be able to work from home contributed to the housing-price boom. In many countries, online searches for homes reached record levels. This higher demand along with supply-chain disruptions, which raised the costs of several inputs required in the construction process, also contributed to rising housing prices.  In many countries, wages struggle to keep pace with these rising housing prices, which makes the prospect of ownership for aspiring homeowners even less likely.  As the graph ‘Housing Affordability’ illustrates, in many OECD countries, a larger proportion of people’s income is taken up when buying a house compared to 1995.  Especially for Millennials and Gen Zs, who are less likely to already own a home compared to baby boomers, the prospects of being able to afford a home are diminishing. 

+ Chia-Erh Kuo
Apart from rising demand and low-interest rates, there is also a cultural aspect behind the soaring housing prices. In Asia, people are more likely to desire to own a property as an asset, whilst western people may only want a house as a place to live. And this long-lasting mindset, to some extent, has led to speculations in the booming real estate market, making housing unaffordable for the younger generation in South Korea and Taiwan. In addition, some have warned that a global housing-market bubble could happen in the near future. 
Sources: link, link, link.

Housing Affordability 
90% of cities around the world do not provide affordable or adequate quality housing, according to the World Economic Forum.  Especially, considering that more people are projected to live in cities in the future, this is a daunting prospect for the average person, and calls for the need for policymakers to enable good and affordable housing for all.  Some cities around the world have begun implementing policies to combat the rise in housing prices and make housing more accessible. In January 2022, for example, the Dutch city of Rotterdam implemented a “purchase protection.” This entails that when someone buys a house, they have to live in it. This prevents investors from snatching up homes to turn a profit. The goal of this measure is to enable young starters to have a better chance of finding a house to buy. 

By 2030, UN Habitat estimates that 3 billion people, about 40% of the world’s population, will need access to adequate housing. This is equivalent to a demand of 96,000 new affordable and accessible housing units every day. According to UN Habitat, housing is “a precondition for access to employment, education, health, and social services. In order to address the current housing challenges, all levels of government should put housing at the center of urban policies by placing people and human rights at the forefront of urban sustainable development”.  The growths in world population and urban population, specifically, are disproportionately centered in developing countries. This means that these countries will be under increased pressure to enable affordable housing for all.  Conventional methods of building houses have a significant environmental footprint. In today’s world, sustainability is increasingly being emphasized.  In the decades to come, striking a balance between environmental sustainability on the one hand while also emphasizing social sustainability and making sure people have access to affordable housing will be vital.
6.3.4 Cities of the Future - Smart and Sustainable Cities
In 1966, Arthur C. Clarke, futurist and writer of 2001: A Space Odyssey believed that the house of the future would be able to fly by 2020.  In 1957, Popular Mechanics published a series of predictions about 2020. By 2020, it was predicted that “roads and streets will be replaced by a network of pneumatic tubes.”  While part of these predictions has not come true, they are not too far off of what reality could be like in the near future. Elon Musk has been interested in the hyperloop, a form of ground transportation in development by multiple companies where passengers float in pods alongside giant low-pressure tubes.  Just like people in the past have been trying to get a grasp on current times, people nowadays are interested in what the future has in store as well. While the future is exciting, there are some challenges unique to this generation, which have to be considered when planning for the future.

Within thirty years, an additional 2.5 billion people are set to live in cities.  Even though cities already have better infrastructure and facilities compared to rural areas, for many countries, it will be challenging to navigate the unprecedented growth of urban areas. Urban growth will impose pressure on current infrastructure as well as finance new infrastructure.  The way cities will develop in the coming years will be key in setting the conditions for the future. This will determine the quality of life in the increasingly populous cities around the world.  To address this challenge, the UN included “sustainable cities and communities” as one of the SDGs.  Some of the key features of the city of the future are that they are sustainable and “smart,” this will be explored in the following section.
6.3.5 Smart and Sustainable cities
Urban centers currently occupy less than 5% of the world’s landmass. Nevertheless, they account for around 70% of both global energy consumption and GHG emissions.  A sustainable city is a city that is designed with consideration for social, economic, and environmental impact. Sustainable cities enable a resilient habitat for existing populations, without compromising the ability of future generations to experience the same.  Sustainable cities promote opportunities for all and try to maintain sustainable economic growth. They aim to minimize required inputs of energy, water, and food, and drastically reduce waste, output of heat, air pollution, CO2, methane, and water pollution. These ambitions require the world to reimagine how almost all cities are designed.

Some cities are already putting these sustainable city ambitions into practice and leading the way in what might become the norm in the coming years. Paris is leading the way with the fifteen-minute neighborhood, where everything one might need can be found in a fifteen-minute public-transport trip, bike ride, or walk from one’s home. Many major cities have implemented tree-planting programs due to the environmental and social benefits of urban forests. Tree planting promotes local cooling, stormwater absorption, and health benefits for local residents.  In many cities across the world, sponge cities are popping up, which are concrete neighborhoods, interlaced with green spaces that can naturally detain and filter water. Moreover, mini urban forests are springing up on patches of land in urban areas around the world, using a method inspired by Japanese temples. 

To better meet current and future challenges, many cities are introducing the concept of smart cities. A smart city is a place where traditional networks and services are made more efficient with the use of digital solutions for the benefit of its inhabitants and business.  Many smart-city initiatives have sustainability practices at their roots. The fast pace of technological developments, therefore, allows for prospects for sustainable cities to become a widespread reality. Smart lighting is an example of both a sustainable and smart initiative. Around the world, more cities are increasingly planning to be smarter.

Currently, Singapore is considered the smartest smart city in the world. Singapore launched a Smart Nation program to address issues of mobility and made important investments in road sensors, phased traffic lights, smart parking, energy management, and green innovation. The city of Barcelona created the Urban Lab, a smart-cities initiative where companies propose sustainable ideas to improve life for the local population. The city has sensors to manage lighting, green spaces, and traffic lights, and focuses on smart waste collection. San Francisco’s Connected City initiative enables residents to access data to make their lives easier and inform them about areas such as health, mobility, and biodiversity. The city is also committed to implementing 100% renewable electricity for all its municipal services.

The technologies described above have been implemented in existing and relatively wealthy cities. Nevertheless, to accommodate 2.5 billion additional people living in cities, some areas in the world have to make tremendous infrastructure investments. A smart technology that has the potential to disrupt the status quo and bring about significant benefits is 3D printing. To address the housing crisis in many parts of Africa, houses can be printed in just twelve hours at a cost of $10,000.  

All in all, planning for sustainable cities is necessary given the current and future environmental and societal challenges the world is facing. Smart-city initiatives will be key in promoting sustainability, convenience, and safety in the increasingly populated cities of the future.
6.3.6 Rural areas
Even though the world is largely moving toward increased urbanization, one-third of the world will still live in rural areas, accounting for around 3 billion people in 2050.  This begs the question as to what the future prospects for rural areas will be. As cities are becoming smarter and more sustainable, and more resources are allocated toward the areas where most people live, there is a danger of the gap between rural and urban areas becoming even bigger.  During the Covid-19 pandemic, as more facets of life shifted to the online world, it became particularly evident that there was a growing digital divide between urban and rural areas. Worldwide, 3.6 billion people lack even the most basic Internet access.  Does this mean that the quality of life in rural areas will become increasingly worse in the decades and centuries to come? What can the world do to ensure a balance between rural and urban areas to level the playing field? As SDG 11: Sustainable Cities & Communities already suggests, the focus should not only be on smart cities but smart communities as well. To realize this, smart villages are becoming increasingly widespread. In smart villages, networks and services are enhanced through digital, telecommunication technologies, innovations, and the better use of knowledge for the benefit of inhabitants and businesses. This may support the quality of life of rural residents, improve the standard of living and public services, and allow for resources to be allocated more effectively thus reducing the impact on the environment. 
6.4. Migration
In 2020, the IOM registered 281 million international migrants globally. There are more migrants than the entire population of Indonesia, the 4th most populated country. Furthermore, it is a fact that migration induces social, political, and economic changes in the receiving societies and those of origin. Migration can be divided into national and international migration. In both cases, migration can occur for voluntary and involuntary reasons. Considering that migration is the movement of people from one part to another for 1 year or more, this section presents how involuntary and voluntary migration will change in the future. It analyzes the future factors of voluntary and involuntary migration. On one side, the push factors are the conditions that drive people to leave their homes or countries, such as political unrest or natural disasters. On the other hand, the pull factors are the conditions that attract people to a new home or country; for example, freedom and better quality of life. The interaction of these factors will represent dramatically different realities for involuntary and voluntary migrants. 
why migrate? push and pull factors  
6.4.1 The Search for a Better Life: Voluntary migration
It is likely that in the future of voluntary migration, more and more people will choose quality of life over their economic opportunities. That is to say, people will migrate to further enhance their quality of life, even if they do not gain - or even lose - a little in economic terms.  Current socio-economic conditions will determine who will have the chance to voluntarily migrate and further enhance their quality of life. Not everyone will have the best quality of life conditions such as food and climate change security, public services, and freedom. Voluntary migration refers to the individual's free will and initiative to move from one place to another. People, who are satisfied where they are, will not migrate.  In the future, voluntary migration is more directly connected with the labor market, internationally and nationally. Migration flows will remain similar as it has been.  However, pull and push factors will determine new policies. 

In 2040, many developing countries will increase their middle class, causing an increase in their emigration.  As a result, the number of immigrants will increase. The trends will remain similar, from rural areas to cities, from developing countries to wealthy countries. The main goal of voluntary migration will be to pursue a better quality of life and socioeconomic opportunities. Currently, the average income per-capita gap between high and low-income countries is over 60 times.  According to the World Bank, this gap will not disappear in at least 100 years.  This means that socioeconomic migration incentives will persist. Developed countries will also provide better and reliable health care, social security, civil rights, connectivity, access to technology, environmental safety, better urban planning, and public services. Most migrants with financial limitations will choose wealthier countries close to their region. 
Nevertheless, aging populations will shrink the workforce in developing countries. The natural population increase rates in developed countries, such as the US, Canada, and Europe, will be negative. From 2030, net international migration will become the most significant driver of population growth in the U.S., and Europe will follow the same trend.   The demand for foreign workers will increase in wealthier economies. Even if automation will fill a significant gap in some industries, it is less likely to do it in services provided by professionals and high-skill workers. Some countries, like Japan, will likely relax their immigration restrictions to be more attractive for foreign workers. More developed countries will need incentive policies for foreign workers to increase their economic growth. In particular, private actors, such as multinationals, will also promote the immigration of the workforce, especially high-skill professionals.  These private actors will influence and support the migration process from developing countries to their headquarters. Alternatively, other governments will encourage immigration restrictions and promote policies to delay retirements to deal with aging populations and the workforce.

Above all, one of the main changes in the future of migration is technology. Technology will make adapting and integrating into a new society easier. Receiving societies will use new technologies to integrate immigrants. Understanding the language, customs, laws, and even finding job opportunities will be more accessible. On the other hand, governments will use technology to increase control and reduce unauthorized or irregular migration.  Therefore, people with higher education and socioeconomic conditions will have more opportunities to migrate and improve their quality of life than people with lower education and incomes. Will the people with many opportunities have the chance to have even more opportunities, while the people with fewer opportunities will have even fewer opportunities?

At the same time, in developing countries, the panorama will be the opposite. In 2040, the world population will increase by 1.43 billion inhabitants. Most of the growth will be from developing countries. This rapid population growth will strain essential services, health, education, housing and increase unemployment and poverty. Informal employment will also increase in developing countries, especially in Latin America.  As a result, emigration rates will increase because of the economic conditions.

Furthermore, the fast urbanization and migration from rural areas to cities will limit the services and pressure, even more, the government capacity.  In addition, informal settlements, poverty, lack of essential services, and insecurity encourage emigration in developing countries. On top of that, most of the populations vulnerable for climate change will live in developing countries. This will increase national migration or migration to neighboring countries. 

High-skilled migration from developing to developed countries will cause a brain drain in the countries of origin. Brain drain could create skills gaps in the labor market and a decrease in unemployment and poverty.  At the same time, developing countries could increase their capital flows with remittances, which would improve socioeconomic conditions. In the receiving countries, migration flows will cause strained social services, more job competitions, and the diminution of wages in the short term. However, developed countries will have better economic outcomes and growth in the long term. 

However, voluntary migration flows will also increase between developed economies. The critical decision factor will be the quality of life in this case. Economic opportunities are fundamental; nevertheless, the labor market will demand more high-skilled people. Thus, high-trained workers will have fewer concerns about finding job opportunities in other developed countries. Even so, they will seek a better quality of life. Concerns such as climate change, circular economy, sustainability, public infrastructure, food security, access to water, safety, and others will be key pull factors for voluntary migration. In the future, countries, cities, and companies will compete to attract high-skill workers that prefer the quality of life over economic opportunities. 

+ Diede Kok
The Canadian solution! Whereas near all countries of the world will face declining populations, Canada is one of the only countries to keep growing. The reason? Canada has historically been much more tolerant towards migration. An average of 300.000 people move to Canada every year from all over the world. That number is estimated to rise to over 450.000.

What does this mean? This means that Canada will be able to afford healthcare, public pensions, and stem the rise of the retirement age. Do these people fall into poverty and crime, as some stereotypes make us believe? Emphatically not, as proven by the data.

Canada is already dubbed 'the most cosmopolitan country in the world'. Issues that will plague the rest of the world in 2100 might be avoided by Canada. Let's be like the Canadians.

Source: 'Empty Planet', Darrel Bricker and John Ibbitson, p. 207-208.

6.4.2 Involuntary Migration
The UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) noticed that the global population of displaced people in 2017 surpassed the number of inhabitants in the United Kingdom.  "Forced Migrants" will be referred to asylum seekers, refugees, and other internally displaced people who have been involuntarily displaced due to reasons such as war, conflict, political uncertainty, poverty, human rights violations, and environmental factors. There is no indication that forced migration will decrease in the future. 
The 2018 UNHCR report on global patterns shows that around 44,000 individuals each day were displaced from their homes, an expansion of almost 30% over the numbers in 2015 and a shocking increase of 500% over the numbers in 2005. By the end of 2017, 68.5 million individuals wound up displaced due to a combining blend of persecution, oppression, war, violence, and denial of fundamental human rights, resulting in an increase of 75% in 20 years. At the time of writing, almost 3 million people have left their homes in Ukraine.  More than a third of the global refugee population (68%) come from five nations: the Syrian Arab Republic (6.6 million), Afghanistan (2.7 million), South Sudan (2.2 million), Myanmar (1.1 million), and Somalia (1 million). Currently, there are around 2 million refugees. 

The UNHCR published a conservative estimation of future migration whereby two lines present the scenarios. One extracts the 2016 percentage of the global displaced population and presumes we will see the same percentage of displaced people in 2030, but with a higher population. The second line assumes the rate of change of displacement between 2000 and 2016 to continue at similar rates until 2030. Both scenarios - particularly the second - are propably far from what the future will look like. The world will face numerous conflicts, increasing size, number, and duration. For example, environmental changes can present direct (e.g., dry season) and indirect (e.g., resource-based crisis') reasons for the rate of change to stay at least constant, if not increase.

+ Martin Bernal Dávila
In the case of Ukraine, people have the opportunity to migrate because of their passports. On other continents, humans do not have the same chance or rights. In the future, hopefully, people will be able to migrate if their lives are at risk. Let's see humans, not nationalities.

projected global displacement scenarios 
The current state of the global forced migration crisis has significant implications for security, economic, political, and human rights that could prompt further universal instability in the future. Moreover, media allow people to see diverse depictions of migrants, often illustrated as violent, malicious, or extremist individuals. At present, 52% of all refugees are children, and 50% are female - the two groups are vulnerable to sexual violence, exploitation, human trafficking, and slavery rather than acts of fueled extremism. 

+ Diede Kok
The writer of the book 'factfulness', Hans Rosling, wrote about the human 'blame instinct'. Rosling concluded that to overcome the human blame instinct (i.e., our tendency to seek a person to blame when faced with adversity) can be overcome by 'looking for causes, not villains'.

When we look for causes instead of villains, we are more likely to look in the mirror, and ask ourselves 'what is my part in this?'. When migrants drowned in the Mediterranean Sea in 2015, the outcry of the general public pointed to human traffickers as the cause of this misery. But European immigration laws are also a cause for migrants to enter frail boats to cross the sea. Let's look for causes, not for villains.

Source: Factfulness, Hans Rosling, p. 214.

On the one hand, the number of displaced people has increased rapidly throughout the years. On the other hand, increased political attention to border restrictions has lowered the number of immigrants in some countries. For example, due to tighter border enforcements, higher risks of illegal border crossing, and increased deportations (among many more reasons), the number of irregular Mexican and Central American migrants crossing borders to the United States has gradually decreased since the early-2000s.  Nonetheless, increased border control in the U.S. has driven many to enter the United States irregularly out of panic of not having the option to do so in the future. As a result, the quantity of travelers detained at the U.S. border in the primary quarter of 2019 has been higher in comparison to the past 5 years. 

Policy changes in Europe are additionally influencing migration courses through the Mediterranean Sea. The "Eastern route" through Greece and the "Central route" through Italy had been the most traveled courses between 2009-2017.  In 2018, the "Western course" through Spain became the most traveled. Relatively, this was due to several factors, including stricter migration policies in Italy; more prominent coast guard presence in Libya; the EU-Turkey deal for Turkey to acknowledge displaced people coming from the European Union in return for monetary incentives; and Spain's choice to permit rescue boats to dock when different nations in Europe did not allow entry.  The United States and European nations have exceptional screening processes. Yet, countries are encouraged to investigate various avenues for safe, orderly, and regular migration in the short term to prevent irregular entry.

Since November 2019, the pandemic has added additional challenges to the previous weaknesses of displaced individuals already living in fragile environments. Furthermore, displaced individuals lack adequate documentation and access to basic needs like insurance, lodging, food, clean water, wellbeing, and education. This makes displaced individuals even more vulnerable to the Covid-19 pandemic, compared to others. In addition, displaced people are often placed in hard-to-reach areas, making the provision of humanitarian assistance a great challenge. In 2020, an OECD report pointed out that the weaker health care and social protection systems made available to refugees, most of whom live in the global South, will experience a disproportionate impact of the pandemic. 

Cataclysmic events, environmental change, and ecological pressure further add to forced migration. Floods, windstorms, earthquakes, dry spells, and different disasters displace many individuals every year around the world. Due to climate change, these relocations are most likely to increase. 
6.5. Demographic Change: What’s heading our way?
What has become clear from digging deeper into the four demographic trends is that they all somehow interact with each other. This chapter, dedicated to demographics, discussed the topics of aging, population growth, urbanization, and migration. For the aging section, the most important takeaways are that older people try not to let the effects of aging show, resulting in a growing anti-aging market. Furthermore, people’s lifestyles, healthcare, and living arrangements all play an instrumental role in ensuring that older people maintain a good quality of life in their old days. The fact that people are getting older is an amazing feat in human progress.
Regarding population growth, there is one underlying conclusion: whether the global population grows or shrinks, there are challenges ahead. A growing population brings environmental troubles with it, while degrowth affects the value of the future pensions system. Current projections state that the population is set to shrink in the majority of countries from the end of the twenty-first century onward. This chapter’s summary of urbanization is twofold: more people living in cities brings about certain challenges as well as opportunities. To enable a good quality of life for everyone in cities, smart and sustainable cities can play an important role. Cities are unaffordable now, so policies have to be in place to make cities more inclusive. Even though the world is largely urbanizing, rural areas should not be left behind. On the topic of migration, the conclusion can be drawn that highly skilled people will have more opportunities in the labor market, making it easier to migrate. In addition, climate change, environmental and cataclysm events, quality of life will be significant push and pull factors for migration in the future.

+ Stefanie Sewotaroeno
Interesting food for thought to consider is the future evolution of humans. What is next for humanity? Is there a "next" at all? Some say that humans will develop higher consciousness. Others state that we have come to the end of human evolution.

An interesting read is this study by Jeff Morgan Stibel that says that our brain size is decreasing. Quoted from the pdf: "While more work is needed, the overall results of the various GWAS studies that have examined evolutionary changes to cognitive ability suggest that both general cognitive function and educational attainment are under negative selection pressure. While the genetic correlations and underlying relationships are still not fully understood, the data support a genetic decrease in cognitive ability consistent with an evolutionary decline in brain size." link

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