Paul H. Irving
President, The Milken Institute
Senior Economist, The Milken Institute
Before our authors discuss the upside of aging, let’s review some data underscoring key challenges and opportunities presented by the massive demographic shift. Is demography destiny? The numbers begin the story—about the rise of a mature world that will change lives in ways we’re just beginning to appreciate.
To understand the demographic realities of the twenty-first century’s aging population, we must first acknowledge the breathtaking advances of the previous century, namely the scientific and medical innovations that changed human existence. Among the twentieth century’s most important contributions was the gift of longevity. In 50 years (1980–2030), global life expectancy is expected to increase by more than 10 years, thanks to new medicines, advanced technologies, and progressive social policies, enabling individual and societal accomplishments unimaginable in earlier generations.
U.S. life expectancy is projected to reach 82 by 2030. Remarkably, it was just 47 years in 1900.