While it may be interesting for us to kick around the behavioral differences between Boomers and Millennials, there is a deeper problem unfolding — the sheet numbers of younger people and where they are concentrated.
According to this interesting report that appeared recently in the New York Times, “At no point in recorded history has our world been so demographically lopsided, with old people concentrated in rich countries and the young in not-so-rich countries.”
A quarter of the earth’s population are now between the ages of 10 and 24 — and the majority live in the developing world.
Result? Youth unemployment, social unrest, and a likelihood of disruptive mass migration. Meanwhile, in the more developed countries, an eventual shortage of labor.
Here are some of the key stats:
- While the world average is 25% in the 10-24 age bracket, it’s only 17% in the most developed countries and 32% in the least developed countries
- It’s 18% in Canada and 20% in the USA
- It’s over 30% in Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestinian Territories, Syria, Jordan, Yemen and Bangladesh, and 28% in Egypt
The countries with high rates also have underdeveloped economies with a lack of job opportunities, compounded by weak educational systems and poor skills training. It’s an explosive combination, because it means that migration alone isn’t the cure — if people are untrained, they won’t get a job simply by moving to a new location.
Now throw into the mix the current wave of anti-immigrant sentiment we see in Europe and emerging in the USA.
The net result doesn’t add up to a pretty picture. We should be thankful we can debate the nuances of marketing to Millennials, and we should hope this continues to be the kind of problem we’re worrying about.