My favorite axiom (truth) is There Is No Such Thing As A National Real Estate Market or a National Economy. This is an understatement when it comes to a global perspective given the vast diversity in everything. Differences in culture, economy, environment and demographics are norms.
A major difference today is not only the size differences of countries throughout the world, but also the population growth taking place, with some countries shrinking in population while others are growing at a rapid pace and others remain the same. Overall, the world population is forecast to increase by 32.4 percent from 2015 to 2050 (a compound annual rate of 0.80 percent) according to the latest forecast from the United Nations (U.N.).
The variability in population location and growth across the world is massive. The following table shows the global population growth from development, income, continent and major region perspectives.
- While 83 percent of the population in 2015 was in less developed countries, this group will be responsible for more than 98 percent of the total growth in the world by 2050
- Most of the world’s population growth will occur in middle-income countries (63.2 percent), with just 4.5 percent coming from high-income countries
- Africa, which now makes up slightly more than 1 in 6 of the world population will account for more than one-half (55.8 percent) of the expected growth from 2015 to 2050 worldwide
- Europe, which is home to 1 in 10 people is going to shrink by 3.4 percent in the 35 years ending 2050
The top-20 percentage growth countries are shown in the following table, followed by the 20 countries forecast to have the largest percent decline in population.
The next two tables show the countries that will have the largest net population gains and losses from 2015 through 2050 per the Median UN forecast. India is expected to gain almost 350 million people from 2015 through 2050 – a gain even greater than the population of the U.S. today.
Countries that are shrinking in population, in my opinion, have the greatest risk of deflation. Deflation is the reduction of the general level of prices in an economy. When people delay purchases expecting that things will cost less in the future, i.e. reduce demand, that accelerates the deflationary trend. Imagine waking up once a year Rip Van Winkle style in a country that has a shrinking population. That means every year there are fewer people which results in less demand for everything: housing, restaurants, stores, cars, financial services and medical.
To download the Excel Sheet that includes the United Nation estimates from 2015 through 2100 click https://population.un.org/wpp/DVD/Files/2_Indicators%20(Probabilistic%20Projections)/UN_PPP2017_Output_PopTot.xls
Click here for the PDF that shows these metrics for all countries. No doubt these will alter as time advances towards 2050.
The implications are huge. The World Health Organization estimates that in 2015, 2.1 billion people across the world were drinking from contaminated water sources and that twice as many lacked safe sanitation. Imagine the demands on infrastructure that substantial population growth will impart in coming years.
Just because a country’s population grows does not necessarily equate to a growing economy. While a growing population places demands on all goods and services, those demands are not realized unless there is also effective purchasing power.