Generation 2025 and beyond

Generation 2025 and beyond
Occasional Papers
No. 1, November 2012
Division of Policy and Strategy
Danzhen You and
David Anthony
Generation 2025 and beyond
The critical importance of understanding demographic
trends for children of the 21st century
Generation 2025 and beyond
Occasional Papers are short reports by UNICEF staff that provide an informed perspective on a timely policy issue,
a discussion of new analysis and issues, a paper presented at a conference or a summary of a work in progress.
Their purpose is to stimulate policy dialogue and foster discussion on emerging issues for children and development
in the 21st century.
Acknowledgements
Special thanks to Patrick Gerland, Vladimira Kantorova and Francois Pelletier from the UN Population Division
for their assistance in providing the disaggregated and projected data that forms the basis of the report’s analysis. Thanks also to UNICEF colleagues: Robert Jenkins and Tessa Wardlaw for their guidance and support;
Mengjia Liang for her assistance in preparing the data analysis; Upasana Young for designing the layout; and
Nicholas Rees, Jingqing Chai and Jin Rou New for providing comments.
Danzhen You is a Statistics and Monitoring Specialist in the Statistics and Monitoring Section of UNICEF’s
Division of Policy and Strategy. David Anthony is Chief of the Policy Advisory Unit in the same department.
Disclaimer
The findings, interpretations and conclusions expressed in this Occasional Paper are those of the authors and do not
necessarily reflect the policies or views of UNICEF or the United Nations.
The text has not been edited to official publication standards, and UNICEF accepts no responsibility for errors.
The designations in this publication do not imply an opinion on legal status of any country or territory, or of its
authorities, or the delimitation of frontiers.
For more information on this paper, please contact [email protected] or [email protected] Comments are
welcome.
© UNICEF November 2012
Division of Policy and Strategy
2
The critical importance of understanding demographic trends for children of the 21st century
Key points emerging from this report
1.
The world’s under-18 population will only modestly increase between 2010 and
2025, but its composition and concentration will change markedly.
2.
The share and numbers of children living in the world’s poorest regions and
countries will continue to grow rapidly.
3.
The child population in sub-Saharan Africa is burgeoning: By mid-century, 1 in
every 3 births – and almost 1 in every 3 children under 18 – will be African.
4.Among countries, there will continue to be an increasing concentration of
under-5 deaths in sub-Saharan Africa, in pockets of poverty and marginalization in populous lower-middle-income countries and in the least developed
nations.
5.
Within countries, there is likely to be an increasing concentration of under-5
deaths in poor and marginalized provinces, households and social groups.
6.Life expectancy at birth will increase steadily throughout the century, and
gaps in life expectancy between regions will continue to narrow.
7.
In the developing world, children born since 2000 are the first generation
whose average life expectancy at birth will be 65 – the current international
age for retirement in many high-income economies.
8.
Overall dependency ratios, currently at their lowest level since the 1970s, will
begin to rise, with falling child dependency ratios across the world offset by
sharply increasing old age dependency – notably in China.
9.
With a growing old-age dependency ratio, one of the biggest risks to children is a
transfer of essential resources away from them, as increasingly total dependency
ratios stretch govenment and family resources ever thinner in coming years.
10.
Given these shifts, it is vital that government services take into account projected demographic shifts when planning essential social services for children.
3
Generation 2025 and beyond
Overview
In October 2011, the world’s population reached an estimated 7 billion. On current
projections, by 2025 it will hit 8 billion (Figure 1). Much remains uncertain about the world
of that time, particularly given hesitant recovery and fiscal turmoil in the advanced economies; the steady shift in the global balance of economic power towards middle-income
countries; the sluggish progress achieved by world leaders on addressing climate change
and food security; and humanitarian crises of increasing frequency, number and intensity.
But we do know that the next billion of global inhabitants will all still be children by 2025,
and that 90% of them will have been born in the less developed regions.
The total population of children under 18 will only
increase slightly, by 4%, from 2.2 billion in 2010 to
2.3 billion by 2025, and will remain at that level by
2050. But children’s share of the world population
will decline, from 32% in 2010 to 29% in 2025 and
down to 25% by 2050 (Figure 1), as fertility rates
continue to fall in many regions and people live longer. In addition, the composition and concentration
of the global child population will change markedly,
with significantly more children living in the poorest
countries and regions than ever before (Figure 2).
Figure 1
Trends in child and adult world population, 1950-2050
Child population (aged 0-17)
Adult population (aged 18 and above)
7.0 billion
Child population (aged 0-17) as a proportion of the total world population
5.7 billion
40%
41%
2.6 billion
4.7 billion
32%
29%
25%
1.5 billion
4
1.0 billion
1.8 billion
2.2 billion
2.3 billion
2.3 billion
1950
1980
2010
2025
2050
The critical importance of understanding demographic trends for children of the 21st century
The highest levels of fertility will be seen in those
countries with the lowest per capita incomes. For
example, by 2025 the total fertility in Niger, the
world’s second poorest country in terms of per
capita GNI at purchasing power parity, is still projected to average over 6 births per woman. The 49
countries currently classified as the world’s least
developed nations will account for around 455 mil-
lion of the projected 2 billion global births between
2010 and 2025.
Populous middle-income countries will also account
for a considerable proportion of the growth in world
population. Just five of these nations – China, India,
Indonesia, Pakistan and Nigeria – will account for
about 859 million births between 2010 and 2025.
Figure 2
Population of children under age 18 by UNICEF region and national income, 1950-2050
B. Number of children under 18, by national income
1200
600
900
Population (in millions)
800
400
200
1970
1990
2010
2030
300
0
2050
Rest of the world
Middle East & North Africa
Latin America & Caribbean
CEE/CIS
Sub-Saharan Africa
South Asia
East Asia & Pacific
2030
2050
Low income
Upper-middle income
100
High income
75
50
50
20
20
0
0
Upper-middle income
Lower-middle income
20
Low income
2050
2040
2030
2020
2010
2000
1990
0
1980
2050
2040
2030
2020
2010
2000
Sub-Saharan Africa
50
1970
South Asia
1990
0
East Asia & Pacific
1980
20
2010
75
75
1970
50
100
Rest of the world
1960
75
1990
D. Share of children under 18, by national income
100
CEE/CIS
Latin America & Caribbean
Middle East & North Africa
1970
High income
Lower-middle income
C. Share of children under 18, by UNICEF region
100
1950
1960
1950
600
1950
0
1950
Population (in millions)
A. Number of children under 18, by UNICEF region
5
Generation 2025 and beyond
It is fairly clear now that the majority of the next
billion is destined to be born in low- and middleincome countries if the current demographic trends
continue. As Figure 3 shows, at the national level
there is a clear correlation between high levels of
poverty, fertility and under-5 mortality.
At the subnational level, it is the poorest that are
likely to experience the most births. Evidence from
household surveys shows massive disparities in
fertility levels within developing nations: in India,
for example, the fertility rate in 2006 was around 4
births per woman in the poorest quintile, compared
with 1.8 in the richest.1■
World Bank, ‘The World Bank Reproductive Health Action Plan
2010-2015’, April 2010, p. 7.
1
Figure 3
Total fertility rate and under-5 mortality rate by country, 2010 and 2025
A. 2010
150
100
50
0
B. 2025
200
Under-5 mortality rate (deaths per 1,000 live births
Under-5 mortality rate (deaths per 1,000 live births)
200
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
150
100
50
0
0
1
2
Total fertility rate (births per woman)
4
5
6
7
Total fertility rate (births per woman)
Low income
Lower middle income
Low income
Lower middle income
Upper middle income
High income
Upper middle income
High income
Linear trend line
6
3
Linear trend line
8
The critical importance of understanding demographic trends for children of the 21st century
Global and Regional Trends
The proportion of children living in the world’s poorest countries will continue to rise.
In 1990, roughly half of children lived in low- or lower-middle-income countries (Figure 2).
By 2025, however, nearly two-thirds of children will live in the low- and lower-middleincome countries, and by mid-century, almost 70% will live in these countries. By midcentury, one quarter of the world’s children will live in low-income countries, compared
with less than 10% in 1950 and roughly 17% in 2010.
Under current assumptions, 2 billion children
will be born between 2010 and 2025. Despite
expected decline in the average number of children per woman assumed in most countries, an
increasing number of births will occur in sub-Saharan Africa, due to the large numbers of adults
in reproductive age groups, up from about 24% of
the global total in 2010 to 29% in 2025, when it will
surpass South Asia as the region with the highest
annual number of births (Figure 4). By mid-century, sub-Saharan Africa will account for 1 in every
3 children born. Around 20% of the world’s births
will occur in low-income countries. Low and lowermiddle-income countries will account for 65% of
global births.
million in 2010 to around 29 million for South Asia,
and from 29 million in 2010 to 21 million for East
Asia and Pacific by mid-century (Figure 4).
1 out of 3 children will be African. Between 2010
and 2025, the child population of sub-Saharan Africa will rise by 130 million. By mid-century, almost
1 in every 3 children will live in sub-Saharan Africa;
in 1950, a century earlier, this ratio was less than 1
in 10. From around 2030, sub-Saharan Africa will
be the single region with the greatest number of
children under 18 (Figure 4). ■
The annual number of births in Asia will experience
a sharp fall in the next few decades, falling from 37
7
Generation 2025 and beyond
Figure 4
Births by UNICEF region and national income, 1950-2050
A. Number of births, by UNICEF region
50
60
Births (in millions)
Births (in millions)
40
30
20
10
0
1950
1970
1990
75
2010
2030
2050
40
20
0
1950
Rest of the world
Middle East & North Africa
Latin America & Caribbean
CEE/CIS
Sub-Saharan Africa
South Asia
East Asia & Pacific
100
B. Number of births, by national income
80
C. Share of births, by UNICEF region
1970
1990
2010
High income
Lower-middle income
CEE/CIS
Latin America & Caribbean
Middle East & North Africa
100
Rest of the world
75
100
2030
2050
Low income
Upper-middle income
D. Share of births, by national income
High income
75
100
75
Upper-middle income
8
20
Low income
2050
2040
2030
2020
2010
0
2000
0
1990
0
Lower-middle income
1980
20
1970
20
50
1960
50
1950
50
2050
2040
2030
2020
2010
2000
1990
Sub-Saharan Africa
1980
1950
0
South Asia
1970
20
East Asia & Pacific
1960
50
The critical importance of understanding demographic trends for children of the 21st century
Country-Specific Trends
India will retain the largest national child population (around 450 million), but it will experience hardly any net change between 2010 and 2025 (Figure 5). Thereafter, however,
its child population will begin to decline sharply, falling by 13% on its 2010 figure by mid-century.
During 2010–2025, India will still have the largest cumulative number of births of any nation –
about 395 million – and the greatest number of child deaths under age 18: approximately 1 in
every 5 global under-18 deaths will still take place in this country (Figure 6).
Figure 5
Top 10 countries with the greatest number of children under age 18, 2010 and 2025
Note: The first number cited for each country refers to the child population in millions; the second
to its share of the world child population.
A. 2010
B. 2025
India,
446m (20%)
India,
447m (20%)
Other
Countries,
932m (42%)
Mexico, 40m
(2%)
Ethiopia, 40m
(2%)
Other
Countries,
104m (46%)
China,
322m (15%)
Nigeria, 109m
(5%)
Nigeria, 78m
(4%)
Indonesia, 78m
(4%)
United States
of America,
75m (3%)
Pakistan, 73m
Bangladesh,
56m (3%) Brazil, 59m (3%) (3%)
China,
267m (12%)
United States
of America,
82m (4%)
Pakistan, 78m
Indonesia, 72m
(3%)
(3%)
Ethiopia, 43m
(2%)
DR Congo, 46m,
(2%)
Bangladesh,
50m (2%)
Brazil, 51m (2%)
Figure 6
Top 10 countries with the greatest cumulative number of births and deaths under age 18, 2010-2025
B. Deaths under 18
A. Births
India,
28m (20%)
India,
395m (20%)
Other
Countries,
922m (46%)
China,
224m (11%)
Other
Countries,
53m (38%)
Nigeria, 108m
(5%)
Pakistan, 71m
(4%)
Ethiopia, 39m
(2%)
Brazil, 43m
(2%)
Indonesia,
60m (3%)
Bangladesh,
43m (2%)
DR Congo,
47m (2%)
United
States of
America, 67m
(3%)
Nigeria,
17m (12%)
Kenya, 3m (2%)
United
Republic of
Tanzania, 3m
(2%)
Uganda, 3m
(2%)
DR Congo,
10m (7%)
Pakistan, 6m
(5%)
China, 6m (4%)
Ethiopia, 4m
(3%)
Afghanistan,
5m (3%)
9
Generation 2025 and beyond
China will continue to have a dwindling number
of children. From having 322 million children in
2010, China will see its child population decline to
267 million in 2025 and 211 million by mid-century.
Despite retaining the second-largest national population of children, the country will account for only
4% of global under-18 deaths in 2010–2025.
The United States is the only high-income country that will have an increasing proportion of
the world’s children by 2025. The United States
is among the top five countries for births in the next
15 years, with 67 million expected between 2010
and 2025. Its share of the global under-18 population will rise from 3% in 2010 to 4% in 2025 and
it will overtake Indonesia as the country with the
fourth largest national population of children, with
82 million in 2025.
In absolute terms, Nigeria will see the highest
increase in its under-18 population of any country. With India’s child population stabilizing, and
China’s declining, Nigeria will see the highest absolute rise in its child population, adding a further 31
million (41% increase) children between 2010 and
2025, and more than doubling its 2010 population
by mid-century. Under current projections by the
UN Population Division, Nigeria will account for 1 in
every 8 deaths among under-18s in 2010–2025.
Besides India and China, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Pakistan face a
great challenge for children’s survival in the coming
decade: under current assumptions, 1 in every 4
global under-18 deaths will take place in these last
three countries alone.
The biggest absolute increases in national child
populations in 2010–2025 will mostly take place
in sub-Saharan Africa: Nigeria (31.6 million), United Republic of Tanzania (13.1 million), Democratic
Republic of Congo (10.4 million), Uganda (8.6 million), Kenya (7.5 million), United States (6.6 million), Iraq (6.0 million), Afghanistan (6.0) million,
Niger (5.5 million) and Malawi (5.0 million).
10
In percentage terms, the top ten countries to see
increases in child populations are all in sub-Saharan Africa: Zambia (66%), Niger (64%), Malawi
(63%), United Republic of Tanzania (57%), Somalia (50%), Burkina Faso (48%), Uganda (47%), Mali
(46%), Rwanda (45%) and Nigeria (41%).
The largest declines in child population in absolute terms will mostly be recorded in Asia and
Latin America: China (55.5 million), Brazil (8.9 million), Bangladesh (6.4 million), Indonesia (6.2 million), Mexico (3.2 million), Thailand (3.1 million),
Vietnam (2.4 million), Japan (1.8 million), Iran (1.7
million) and Myanmar and Turkey (both 1.5 million).
In percentage terms, most, but not all, of the
biggest declines will occur in countries with
smaller populations, particularly small island
developing states: Guyana (29%); Cuba (25%),
Bosnia and Herzegovina (24%), Albania (23%),
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (19%), Mauritius,
TFYR Macedonia, Portugal and Thailand (all 18%),
and China (17%).■
The critical importance of understanding demographic trends for children of the 21st century
Mortality Trends
Observable trends show that although the global number of child deaths has fallen
markedly since 1990, under-5 deaths are increasingly concentrated in the poorer
regions, countries and communities in the developing world.
The future story of childhood deaths will increasingly be African. By 2025, about 55% of under-18
deaths will take place in sub-Saharan Africa, rising to
almost 60% by mid-century. All other regions will see
a declining proportion of global under-18 deaths (Figure 7). More than 80% of deaths under age 18 will be
among children under five.
Sub-Saharan Africa in particular, and, to a lesser
extent, South Asia, already have fallen behind other
regions in reducing under-5 mortality. A look at how
the burden (number) of under-5 deaths is distributed
among regions reveals an increasing concentration of
global under-5 deaths in sub-Saharan Africa and South
Asia; combined, these two regions accounted for 82%
of the global total in 2011. In contrast, the rest of the
world’s regions have seen their share fall from 32% in
1990 to just 18% in 2011.
Figure 7
Deaths of children under 18 by UNICEF region and national income, 1950-2050
A. Number of deaths under 18, by UNICEF region
B. Number of deaths under 18, by national income
Deaths (in millions)
60
40
20
2040-2045
2030-2035
2020-2025
2010-2015
2000-2005
1990-1995
1980-1985
1970-1975
1960-1965
1950-1955
100
CEE/CIS
Rest of the world
Latin America & Caribbean
Middle East & North Africa
East Asia & Pacific
High income
Lower-middle income
Low income
Upper-middle income
D. Share of deaths under 18, by national income
C. Share of deaths under 18, by UNICEF region
75
20
Rest of the world
Middle East & North Africa
Latin America & Caribbean
CEE/CIS
Sub-Saharan Africa
South Asia
East Asia & Pacific
100
40
0
2040-2045
2030-2035
2020-2025
2010-2015
2000-2005
1990-1995
1980-1985
1970-1975
1960-1965
1950-1955
0
100
100 High income
Upper-middle income
50
75
75
75
50
50
50
Lower-middle income
25
0
0
25
2040-2045
2030-2035
2020-2025
2010-2015
2000-2005
1990-1995
1980-1985
1970-1975
Low income
1960-1965
2040-2045
2030-2035
2020-2025
2010-2015
2000-2005
1990-1995
1980-1985
1970-1975
Sub-Saharan Africa
1960-1965
0
25
1950-1955
South Asia
25
1950-1955
Deaths (in millions)
60
0
11
Generation 2025 and beyond
The poorest countries will be home to the greatest number of under-18 and under-5 deaths. In
2010-2025, low and lower-middle-income countries
will account for around 90% of under-18 deaths
and more than 80% of under-5 deaths. Based
on projections made by the UN Population Divi-
sion, around 20% of the world’s births occur in
low-income countries; however, these countries
account for almost 40% of global under-5 deaths.
Together, low- and lower-middle-income countries
account for 66% of global births, but more than
90% of under-5 deaths (Figure 8).
Figure 8
The global concentration curve of under-5 mortality, 2010-2025
Cumulative proportion of under-5 deaths (%)
ranked by national income
100
80
60
40
20
0
0
20
40
60
80
Cumulative proportion of births (%) ranked by national income
National burdens of under-5 deaths are heavily concentrated in poor and isolated provinces, households and social groups. Statistical
evidence shows that national burdens of under-5
mortality are not equally distributed within countries but largely concentrated in pockets of income poverty and geographic marginalization. A
UNICEF analysis of data from Demographic and
Health Surveys disaggregated by wealth quintiles
for 37 countries with available data since 2005
shows marked differentials in the distribution of under-5 deaths. In 22 of 37 developing countries with
12
100
Note: The concentration curve shows
the cumulative proportion of deaths (on
the y-axis) against the cumulative proportion of births (on the x-axis), ranked
by national income, and beginning with
the poorest child. If the concentration
curve coincides with the diagonal, all
children have the same mortality rates.
If the curve lies above the diagonal, inequalities in mortality favour the betteroff-children. If the curve lies below the
diagonal, inequalities in mortality favour
the poorer children.
available data, more than 50% of under-5 deaths
occur in the least two poorest quintiles; and in 12
countries, the proportion of under-5 deaths was at
least 30% higher in the poorest two quintiles compared with the richest two quintiles. Such disparities in the distribution of under-5 deaths are most
marked in lower middle-income countries such as
India and Indonesia that have often made strong
progress towards MDGs at the national aggregate
level, but they also exist in low-income countries
such as Bangladesh, Cambodia and Haiti.■
The critical importance of understanding demographic trends for children of the 21st century
Life Expectancy and Dependency Trends
A generation living longer lives. A child born in
2010 could, on average, have expected to live a
further 68 years assuming that the current mortality
situation prevails. By 2025, that figure will rise to
71 years, further to 76 by mid-century and to over
80 by 2100. Children born in the more developed
regions could expect to live an average of 77 years
in 2010 – 24 years longer than the average subSaharan African child. By mid-century, this gap is
projected to narrow, to 16 years, and will fall further,
to 11 years by the turn of the century. These gains
are conditional on the continuous progress in child
and adult survival, as well as improvements in oldage mortality, and do not factor any new unforeseen
threats to mortality.
For the less developed regions, children born since
the 2000 Millennium Declaration and the MDGs are
the first generation whose average life expectancy
at birth will be 65 ‒ the current international age
for retirement in many high-income economies. For
this generation, most can expect to become oldage dependents.
A generation with greater numbers of dependents. With increasing life expectancy and declining total fertility rate, the world as a whole will have
more elders and fewer children relatively (Figure
9). In the past 40 years (1970-2010), total dependency ratios – the ratio of the sum of the population aged 0-14 and that aged 65 and above to the
population aged 15-64 – have fallen sharply globally, driven down by falling child dependency ratios
(the ratio of the population aged 0-14 compared
to the population aged 15-64) from high levels. In
fact, by 2010, the global total dependency ratio had
reached its lowest level on record. The global child
dependency ratio in 1970 was 65%; by 2010, this
had fallen to 41%. In contrast, the global old-age
dependency ratio (the ratio of the population aged
65 years or over to the population aged 15-64) has
risen very slowly, from 9% in 1970 to 12% in 2010
(Figure 10).
The outlook for the next 60 years (2010-2070)
shows a reversal of these trends. After remaining
steady at 52 between 2010 and 2025, the overall
global dependency ratio will climb steadily thereafter, reaching its 1990 level by 2070. In every
region, including sub-Saharan Africa, child dependency ratios are on the decline in for the remainder
of the century, but old-age dependency is on the
rise, often sharply in some regions. The fall in the
child dependency ratio will continue but at a much
slower pace, and it will settle at around 31% in
2070. Meanwhile, the global old-age dependency
rate will accelerate markedly, almost tripling from
12% in 2010 to around 32% in 2070.
The overall dependency ratios is set to rise fastest
and farthest in the more developed regions, owing
to a sharp rise in old-age dependency in the remainder of the century. By contrast, child dependency
ratios in these regions will remain fairly stable. The
least developed countries will continue to experience a sharp decline in overall dependency ratios
until around 2070.
Much of the increase in the dependency ratio of the
less developed regions and the world will partly be
due to China’s rapidly ageing population. Between
1950 and 2010, China’s child dependency ratio
halved from 56% to 27% – the latter figure is among
the lowest rates in the world. Over the same period,
its old-age dependency ratio increased from 7% to
11%. Consider the contrast with the next 60-year
period: whereas the child dependency ratio broadly
stabilizes, standing at a projected 25% in 2070, the
old-age dependency increases massively, to 54%.
This leaves the overall dependency ratio at 80% –
meaning that there is almost one dependent person
for each working-age person.■
13
Generation 2025 and beyond
Figure 9
Global population by age and sex, 2010, 2025 and 2050
Age (in years)
A. 2010
Children (under 18)
80+
75-79
Adults (18 and above)
70-74
Female
Male
65-69
60-64
55-59
50-54
45-49
40-44
35-39
30-34
25-29
20-24
15-19
10-14
5-9
0-4
400 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350
Population (in millions)
Age (in years)
B. 2025
80+
75-79
70-74
65-69
60-64
55-59
50-54
45-49
40-44
35-39
30-34
25-29
20-24
15-19
10-14
5-9
0-4
Male
Female
400 350 300 250 200 150 100
50
0
50 100 150 200 250 300 350
Population (in millions)
Age (in years)
C. 2050
14
80+
75-79
70-74
65-69
60-64
55-59
50-54
45-49
40-44
35-39
30-34
25-29
20-24
15-19
10-14
5-9
0-4
Male
Female
400 350 300 250 200 150 100
50
0
50
100 150 200 250 300 350
Population (in millions)
The critical importance of understanding demographic trends for children of the 21st century
Figure 10
Total, child and old-age dependency ratios, 1950-2100
Total
Child
Old-age
80
2100
2090
2080
2070
2060
2050
2040
2030
2020
2010
100
80
60
60
2100
2090
2080
2070
2060
2050
2040
2030
2020
2010
2000
1990
1980
1970
1960
China
Least developed countries
Less developed regions
More developed regions
Sub-Saharan Africa
World
1950
2100
2090
2080
2070
2060
2050
2040
2030
2020
2010
0
2000
0
1990
20
1980
20
1970
40
1960
40
1950
2000
D. Total dependency ratio for
selected regions and countries
C. Less developed regions
100
1990
2100
2090
2080
2070
2060
2050
2040
2030
2020
0
2010
0
2000
20
1990
20
1980
40
1970
40
1960
60
1950
60
1980
80
1970
80
Total
Child
Old-age
1960
Total
Child
Old-age
B. More developed regions
100
1950
A. World
100
15
Generation 2025 and beyond
Implications, Risks and Opportunities
This study is derived from projections from the UN Population Division based on World Population Prospects:
The 2010 Revision2 (medium fertility assumption). The
authors acknowledge that the actual outcomes for children may differ from the projections due to policy interventions and changes in underlying assumptions. For
example, we are aware that different rates of economic
growth among nations may alter the composition of
countries currently classified as low-income, middleincome or high-income. Nonetheless, we consider that
the key points highlighted in this review of demographic
trends for children in the 21st century have several important implications for global efforts to foster equitable
development for children in the 21st century.
Third, the discourse and debate on reaching the
unreached in child survival must be intensified
in populous middle-income countries with large
numbers of under-5 deaths. In several of these
countries, including India and Nigeria, rapid economic
growth and strong external inflows of trade and investment in recent years have failed to bring about
a corresponding reduction narrowing of inequities in
under-5 mortality. Disaggregated data on child survival and health and development in these countries
shows clearly the wide differentials in health status,
access to and use of essential services, and health
risks among socioeconomic groups and geographic
areas.
First, governments and donors must recognize that
changing demographic trends will require adapting
policies and programming and investments in children. Understanding where the next billion citizens will
be born, survive and live will be critical to formulating solutions that drive forward equitable human progress, and
ensuring that they are adequately resourced. This will be
of vital importance for sub-Saharan Africa, whose under18 population is set to increase by 130 million — roughly
the same number of people as the population of Japan,
the world's 10th most populous country — with several
countries there set to experience large and sometimes
unprecedented rises in child and overall populations.
Fourth, greater attention must be devoted to reaching the poorest and most geographically isolated
households with essential services throughout
the developing world. The statistical evidence clearly shows that these groups have the highest burden of
under-5 deaths – and therefore the greatest potential
for child survival gains. Evidence from selected developing countries shows that in the poorest and most
marginalized groups many are still dying of diseases
and or suffering the conditions that are easily preventable among wealthier and more mainstream groups
that have access to quality services.
Second, child survival efforts must become even
more firmly focused on sub-Saharan Africa and
South Asia, fragile states and the least developed
countries, which are dominated by countries from these
two regions. As these regions and country groups also
hold the largest burdens of childhood diseases, targeting health and nutrition resources to them has the potential to yield substantial returns. We have already seen
this effect in action in the area of measles immunization,
which has produced the stunning result of lowering global measles deaths by 74% between 2000 and 2010.3
2
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, “World
Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision”, New York 2011.
16
3
Emily Simons, Matthew Ferrari, John Fricks, Kathleen Wannemuehler, Abhijeet Anand, Anthony Burton, Peter Strebel, “Assessment of the 2010 global measles mortality reduction goal: results
from a model of surveillance data”, The Lancet, published online
April 24, 2012, DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60552-4.
Fifth, planning for education, nutrition and health
services must take full account of the projected
demographic shifts. To achieve universal primary
education and other goals is more demanding in
countries with fast growing child populations. In some
sub-Saharan African countries, the population of
school-aged children will double between 2010 and
2025; this has major implications for provision of education and other essential services. On the opposite
side are countries with declining or stable numbers of
school-aged children, which will not have this demographic pressure of growing numbers and can more
easily achieve goals set for primary and secondary
education.
The critical importance of understanding demographic trends for children of the 21st century
Finally, more analysis and policy consideration is
urgently needed on the issue of dependence. The
golden age of falling overall global dependency
ratios since the 1970s is set to end over the next
decade and a half, with ratios set to rise steadily
in the remainder of the century. Given that many
gains in child survival and development in the past
60 years have taken place within the context of
falling overall dependency ratios, their forthcoming
rise will pose a challenge to governments, many of
which are struggling already to cover the rising cost
of social welfare systems. With children largely unable to vote in most countries, it is critical that advocates and policymakers ensure that they do not
lose out in a rapidly changing, more populous and
ageing world. ■
Appendix
Figure A1
Population of children under age 5 by UNICEF region and national income, 1950-2050
B. Number of children under 5, by national income
300
200
250
Population (in millions)
150
100
200
150
100
50
50
1990
2010
2030
0
2050
1950
Rest of the world
Middle East & North Africa
Latin America & Caribbean
CEE/CIS
Sub-Saharan Africa
South Asia
East Asia & Pacific
100
CEE/CIS
Latin America and Caribbean
Middle East and North Africa
75
Rest of the world
100
75
75
2040
2030
2020
2010
0
Lower-middle income
20
Low income
0
2050
20
2040
20
50
2030
50
2020
50
0
2000
1990
1980
1970
Sub-Saharan Africa
1960
1950
2050
High income
2010
East Asia and Pacific
South Asia
0
2030
Low income
Upper-middle income
2000
20
100
1990
50
2010
Upper-middle income
2050
75
1990
D. Share of children under 5, by national income
C. Share of children under 5, by UNICEF region
100
1970
High income
Lower-middle income
1980
1970
1970
1950
1960
0
1950
Population (in millions)
A. Number of children under 5, by UNICEF region
250
17
Generation 2025 and beyond
Figure A2
Deaths under age 5 by UNICEF region and national income, 1950-2050
A. Number of deaths under 5, by UNICEF region
50
Population (in millions)
30
20
40
30
20
10
C. Share of deaths under 5, by UNICEF region
2040-2045
2030-2035
2020-2025
2010-2015
2000-2005
1990-1995
1980-1985
1970-1975
High income
Lower-middle income
100
100 Rest of the world
CEE/CIS
Latin America & Caribbean
Middle East & North Africa
75 East Asia & Pacific
1960-1965
1950-1955
Rest of the world
Middle East & North Africa
Latin America & Caribbean
CEE/CIS
Sub-Saharan Africa
South Asia
East Asia & Pacific
B. Number of deaths under 5, by national income
0
2040-2045
2030-2035
2020-2025
2010-2015
2000-2005
1990-1995
1980-1985
1950-1955
0
1970-1975
10
1960-1965
Population (in millions)
40
Low income
Upper-middle income
D. Share of deaths under 5, by national income
100 High income
100
Upper-middle income
50
75
75
50
50
75
50
Lower-middle income
18
2040-2045
2030-2035
2020-2025
2010-2015
2000-2005
Low income
1990-1995
0
1980-1985
0
25
1970-1975
25
1960-1965
2040-2045
2030-2035
2020-2025
2010-2015
2000-2005
1990-1995
1980-1985
1970-1975
1960-1965
Sub-Saharan Africa
1950-1955
0
25
1950-1955
25 South Asia
00
November 2012
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