Javascript is not enabled.

Javascript must be enabled to use this site. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try again.

World Population Growth, Longevity, Life Expectancy Rising - AARP Bulletin Skip to content

Refresh your driving skills with the AARP Smart Driver online course! Use promo code THANKS to save 25 percent.


World Population Boom

Growth is estimated to reach over 7 billion

The world's population has exploded in the last 50 years with unprecedented growth that will catapult our numbers over the 7 billion mark this fall. But birthrates aren't up, longevity is. With life expectancy rising, a global aging trend — accompanied by social, economic and political consequences — is here to stay.

See also: How long will you live?

Global Aging

Average life expectancy for a human being born today is 67.6 years. In 1950 it was 46.6 years; in 2050 it will be 75.5.

People 60+ will outnumber those under 15 for the first time in 2045.

35.6 million people have dementia today, a number projected to grow to 65.7 million in 2030 and 115.4 million by 2050.

Past & Future

Earth is now home to some 7 billion people — that's almost triple the population of 1950. By 2050, the 60+ population will grow from over 750 million to 2 billion, and rise from 10.7% to 22% of people on the planet.

Illustration of aging population - the past 50 years have seen the fastest ever rate of growth for global population

Illustration by David Coulson

Gender Gaps

The ratio of women to men age 60+ is 100 to 83.

That means there are 66 million more women age 60+ than men in the world.

Eighty percent of men age 60+ are married, but only 48% of older women are.

Nineteen percent of older women live alone; just 9% of older men do.

This translates to 33 older men living without a spouse per 100 older women in the same situation.

Economic Status

Today 64% of people 60+ live in less developed countries. By 2050, it will be 80%.

The number of older poor will grow from 342 million today to 1.2 billion in 2050.

People 65+ are more likely to be retired if living in a more developed country rather than a less developed one (women 92% vs. 81% ; men 86% vs. 65%).

Oldest Old

The number of people 100+ will increase 900% between now and 2050, from 455,000 to 4.1 million.

Women make up 81% of the world's centenarians.

Among those 60+, the fastest-growing population is the oldest old — that is, those age 80 and older. That group is growing 4% annually.

Sources: United Nations Population Division; U.S. Census; National Geographic, Jan. 2011; World Bank; Alzheimer's Disease International

Also of interest: Oldest Camaro owner enjoying life in fast lane. >>

Join the Discussion

0 | Add Yours

Please leave your comment below.

You must be logged in to leave a comment.