Geoff Zeiss

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July 14, 2011

Comments

Spatialguru

Geoff, I see lots of discussion about how declines in workforce availability will affect revitalisation projects, but I haven't seen much discussion about how the western birth rates declines will affect USAGE of infrastructure. Conceivably, at some point, the demands on infrastructure and resources don't continue to grow - right? Curious if you had any pointers on this.

Tyler

Geoff

Most countries still have increasing populations. The major economies with declining populations are Russia, Germany and Japan. Brazil, China, India and Indonesia have increasing populations. The EU's population is increasing. US, Canadian and Australian populations are increasing due to immigration. Canada and Australia continue to have the highest per capita immigration rates in the developed world. So populations in general have not declined significantly even in Germany and Japan.

But the age distribution of populations is experiencing a significant shift. In Japan 23% of the population is 65 or over. Back in 1989 that age group was 12%. Consumption patterns of older folks including energy and water are different from younger folks. Stats Canada found that when corrected for the declining size of aging households, consumption levels remained relatively stable as households aged. Households in their early 70s consumed 95% of the level of households in their late 40s, but the composition of consumption did change. Older households devoted a larger share to housing expenditures and health and less on food, clothing and personal care items. I haven't seen this translated into energy and water consumption.

Spatialguru

Very interesting stats, declines were probably the wrong word, but most countries are no longer at replacement levels, so growth is certainly being challenged.

My understanding was that, globally speaking, growth was really slowing and much more pronounced in the demographic transitions of many countries. Especially as developed (and developing) nations aggressively compete for immigrants. It probably goes without saying that a shift toward an aging population is also a shift away from child-bearing populations.

Will sure be an interesting challenge to see growth go flat and how it affects resources, tax revenues or funding workforce.

Interesting stats: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_growth#Human_population_growth_rate

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