When it comes to demographic curves, Jeffrey Rosensweig likes India’s.
The director of the global perspectives program at Emory University‘s Goizueta School of Business, also likes those of Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, Colombia and Turkey.
“A beautiful age cohort has a fat middle,” the professor told a Kiwanis Club of Atlanta luncheon downtown on its annual Consular Corps Day April 28.
That “fat middle” is not adipose, but rather composed of a hard working population in its prime years that is saving and investing, he said, in sharp contrast to the countries with inverted pyramids showing narrower middles due to low birth rates and lots of retirees.
Dr. Rosensweig also discussed the importance of U.S. exports to large emerging economies in explaining the U.S.’s economic recovery, including the 40 percent of students from overseas in his classes at the Goizueta School who pay tuition, which is counted as an “educational export.”
Exports also include the expenditures of tourists who visit, a lesson which he promoted when he was serving as an adviser to the government of Jamaica. While Jamaica was vulnerable to fluctuating sugar prices, he said it derived economic strength due to the export revenues from the many tourists visiting the island.
But exports are not entirely reliable as economic generators since they dependent on a variety of factors such as currency fluctuations and even port closings such as experienced in California earlier this year.
When focused on the future, Dr. Rosensweig considers population trends as key indicators of a country’s future economic vitality, and he predicts that within the next 25 years the world’s population will grow by around 1.6 billion people.
He’s calculated that 100 people are being added to the world’s total population every 48 seconds. Although 200 are born at this rate, 100 die, leaving a net of 100 more.
Ninety seven percent of this population growth will take place in the “emerging world,” which he said is no longer composed of “underdeveloped” or “least developed” countries as they were called in the past because of their current growth rates and future prospects.
According to Dr. Rosensweig, half of the population growth will occur in Africa. One quarter will take place in Islamic nations such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran and others. Another quarter is to take place in Asian countries other than India and China.
One fifth of the growth is to take place in India and though China’s population growth is to decline, growth will continue to be substantial there as well because, he said, the Chinese government is easing up on its one-child policy.
The Chinese government has come to realize, he added, that one able bodied worker is going to have to hard a time supporting four retired grandparents and two parents.
The U.S. currently benefits from the world’s rapid population growth, he also said, because many of the most able will seek to come to the developed nations to be educated and benefit from the opportunities to find high-paying jobs.
But in the future, he suggested, many of the opportunities will be abroad in the nations with growing populations and those fat demographic middles.
To hear the entirety of Dr. Rosensweig’s luncheon address, click here.