The World is on the threshold of a stunning demographic transformation caused by falling fertility and rising life expectancy. Global aging promises to affect every dimension of economic, social, and political life—from the shape of the family to the shape of the world order. Perhaps most fatefully, it could throw into question the ability of many countries to provide a decent standard of living for the old without imposing a crushing burden on the young.
This issue of F&D explores the consequences on society of aging populations. The world’s population will reach 7 billion this year and is projected to exceed 9 billion in 2050. But in our
Population aging will certainly challenge public and private budgets in many ways, but through a combination of reduced consumption, postponed retirement, increased asset holdings, and greater investment in human capital, it should be possible to meet this challenge without catastrophic consequences.
We look at which countries are best and worst prepared to meet the needs of the growing wave of retirees.
We also have articles on a broad range of current topics, including
In our regular
Illustration: p. 22, Focuscomm/Corbis.
Photography: Cover, Tomek Sikora/Getty Images; p. 2, Michael Spilotro/IMF; p. 6, Mark Henry/Panos; pp. 12–13, WIN-images/Corbis; p. 16, Sanjeev Gupta/epa/Corbis; p. 19, Walter Hodges/Corbis; p. 27, Rob Crandall/Newscom; p. 30, moodboard/Corbis; p. 34, Thomas Schulze/picture alliance/ZB/Newscom; p. 35, Karen Kasmauski/Corbis; pp. 36–37, Alexandra Boulat/VII/Corbis; pp. 40–41, Koichi Kamoshida/ZUMA press/Corbis; p. 42, Macduff Everton/Corbis; p. 48, Michael Spilotro/IMF; p. 50, Michael Spilotro/IMF; pp. 54–57, Michael Spilotro/IMF.
Read online at www.imf.org/fandd