How Are Global Demographics Changing and What Does This Mean for the Hospitality Industry?

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When discussing global demographics, the majority of information available will state that the world’s population growth has slowed. Though both “developed” and “less developed” nations are struggling to sustain their aging populations, developed countries such as Japan are experiencing the direst affects as studies will suggest that within the next decade the countries wealth will decline as a result of having to support the elderly portion of the population. World population has more than doubled in the last 50 years, and it has nearly quadrupled since 1900. Currently, world population is growing at a rate of 1.35 percent per year. The United Nations’ most recent forecast, however, predicts a slowing in the growth of world population to about 0.33 percent per year by 2050, at which time forecasters are predicting that world population will total 8.9 billion persons (A global demographic…Mueller, Paige, Ball, Asli). The hospitality industry relies heavily on the younger generations to fill front-line and entry level positions therefore the diminishing percentile of youth in certain countries will hold negative consequences in coming years for companies who rely on their skills to function.

While the world’s population growth has slowed, improvements in life expectancy have continued. These two conditions are leading to a rapid aging of the population, which is depicted in Table 1. By looking at average or median age, it becomes clearer that there is an increase in the aging population. Over the past 50 years, the median age of the world’s population has increased by 2.8 years, from 23.6 in 1950 to 26.4 in 2000 (Batini, Callen, McKibbin 2006). The United Nations estimates median age to rise to 36.8 years in 2050. More developed countries are expected to have an increase in median age from 37.3 years to 45.2 years, and lesser developed countries, from 24.1 years to 35.7 years. Using an estimate for 2005, Japan is the country with the oldest population,...
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