Global Population Trends

November 2021

Population ageing, urbanisation and rising health risks continue to be major demographic shifts shaping economies and consumer markets. The global population aged 65+ kept expanding in 2020, as lifespans rose, while the number of children aged 0-4 fell, as birth rates declined. Asia Pacific’s urban population hit 2 billion in 2020, while urbanisation in the Middle East and Africa was the fastest in the world. The Coronavirus pandemic has disrupted migration, impacting 2020 and beyond.

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Key Findings

The global population is predicted to reach eight billion by 2025 and will approach nine billion by 2040

Growing live births and rising life expectancy, particularly in developing countries, will continue to drive global population growth, though the pace will decrease. By 2040, nearly 88% of the world’s total population will live in developing and emerging countries, shifting global consumer influence (and spending) away from developed economies.

Population ageing accelerates

The world population aged 65+ will reach 1.3 billion, or 15% of the global population by 2040, up from 0.7 billion, or 9% of the total population, in 2020. Longer lifespans will impact consumer profiles in terms of changing preferences and needs, and will fuel age-friendly innovations.

Urbanisation continues to fuel consumption and lifestyles

The share of the urban population will increase from 56% of the total in 2020 to 64% by 2040. Urbanisation will be the major driver of consumption and lifestyle trends, due to the higher average purchasing power of urban citizens. The Asia Pacific region will see the strongest rise in the urban population over 2020-2040, followed by the Middle East and Africa.

Singletons are set to exceed the married in number

The singletons population is set to overtake the world’s married population by 2040. Being extremely diverse in consumption, singles present unique challenges and plenty of opportunities for consumer goods and services companies. The highest growth in the singles population over 2020-2040 will be observed in Asia Pacific region.

Holistic wellbeing is on the rise

Amid a rise in health conditions such as obesity, diabetes and hypertension, coupled with the severe impact of COVID-19, governments and consumers will be prioritising preventative health and focusing on achieving holistic wellbeing.


Key findings
Global population snapshot
Five key population trends
Areas of opportunity

Population Today

Global population in 2020: Summary
Population declined in Eastern Europe; growth slowed elsewhere
Asia Pacific’s urban population reaches two billion
The 65+ age group now larger than the 0-4 year-old population
Net migration in developed countries declines by 40% in 2020

Global Outlook

Global population to reach eight billion by 2025, but growth is slowing
Nearly two thirds of the global population will be urban by 2040
The 65+ age group to surpass one billion by 2031
Fertility rates will keep declining globally, except for Eastern Europe
Life expectancy will reach 75 years by 2038
The singles population is set to become the largest by 2039
“Lifestyle” diseases are on the rise

Top Five Population Trends

Top population trends for economies, businesses and consumers
Urbanisation boosts consumption and drives consumer trends
Singapore builds its first sustainable “forest town”
Population ageing drives consumer wants and needs
JD.Com: innovative solutions for older online customers
Singletons reign: Becoming the largest demographic group globally
Growing number of solutions for single and small space dwellers
Generation Z will define the future consumer market
Gen Z prefers access to ownership: Zoomcar
Focus on holistic wellbeing accelerates
Memore: Food ingredients to support cognitive health
Five key population trends

Rankings of Key Indicators

Total population
Population aged 0-14 years
Population aged 15-64 years
Population aged 65+ years
Median age of the population
Urban population
Population density
Net migration
Life expectancy at birth


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