Alive and kicking at 65: aging societies
By the time little Prince George turns 65, his parents William and Kate will quite likely still be around. According to the UN, there are an estimated 410,000 people over 100 years old today, and by 2078 the number of centenarians will rise to 11.3 million. So at 65, George will be more middle-aged than a senior, and he won’t be alone. In a study on centenarians, Michaela Grimm, senior economist at Allianz, commented, "In the future, people who reach a very old age will no longer be a rarity."
Even though birth rates are expected to decrease in the future, with people living this long, the world population will continue to rise. Back when Prince Charles was born, the earth hosted a mere 2.5 billion people. Just two years ago, we were up to seven billion. By 2078, the world could have as many as ten billion people. If the prince's coronation is in 2078, Britain’s population is likely to be a bit higher than it is today. Nonetheless, Europe's population will have shrunk by ten percent.
This also means that when George begins work as king, it will no longer be unusual for people over 65 to be working full time. With this kind of aging society, we will have to rethink many things, from city planning to the workplace. Strategic workforce planning today is essential to match the size and skills profile of a future workforce with future business demands. The markets for "senior-friendly" building and products will continue to boom, while banks and insurance companies will need to adapt their financial products.
"In this future world, our concept of working and pensions will be completely obsolete," says Volker Deville, Allianz executive vice president and co-organizer of the annual Berlin Demography Forum. "There will probably still be some form of government support for seniors, and people will continue to save for their old age, but people in 2078 will be working more later in life. They’ll be healthier and motivated to work, so the biggest policy challenge today is investing in their education so that they have the skills they need tomorrow."
So it won’t be Prince George alone who will be looking forward to working as king at the age of 65 – many of his compatriots will also be far from retired at this age.