Population Pyramids

by Elaine Schwartz    •    May 20, 2011    •    708 Views

These graphics are wonderful!

Shaped sort of like a triangle because the elderly population is so small, this population pyramid for Egypt illustrates a youth bulge of men and women who are 15 to 29. The “bulge” represents 28% of the population–maybe 23 million people. For Jordan, Algeria, Iran, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain the demographic picture is similar.

But the U.S. is different. Our graph has a baby boomer bulge. As you might expect, population pyramids for other developed nations resemble the U.S. graph. (You can open “Demographic Indicators” at this OECD site to compare.)

The Economic Lesson

What does a youth bulge imply? It takes us to jobs. The Washington Post reminds us that when freedom is limited, unemployment among so many young people fuels instability.

By contrast, for the U.S. and other nations with an aging population, entitlement support for the elderly is the challenge.

An Economic Question: We know that population matters…but how? How might the size of a country’s population and the relative size of its different age groups affect GDP growth (the value of a country’s production of goods and services during one year)?



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