World's Population Aging

The fastest-growing age group in the world today is people over 80, according to a United Nations report. An aging population is likely to have profound effects on economics in all regions, according to the report. "The changes that are going on are not paralleled in any century before the 20th century," said Joseph Chamie, director of the UN Population Division. The median age in the world today is 26; it will be 36 by 2050, according to UN projections.

U.S. demographers are focused n the "potential support ratio"-the number of people 15 to 64 available as workers to sustain the retired population. In 1950 the ratio was 12 to 1; in 2000 it was 9 to 1. By 2050 (if the Lord tarries) there may be only 4 working-age people for every person over 65.

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