Independence Day: Growing Share of Working Age Population in Pakistan
Dependency ratio, defined as the percentage of children and retirees to the working age population, is rapidly declining in Pakistan (current dependency ratio is 69.03%) and the rest of the developing nations of Asia and Africa. This demographic shift means that the world's richest and most powerful nations with the largest share of working populations will no longer be in Europe and North America by 2050. Among South Asian nations, Bangladesh has already joined the list of top 10 nations in terms of the largest share of the working age population. India and Pakistan are expected to join it by 2050. Increasingly better educated working age population is expected to significantly enhance their productivity and increase their incomes.
|Shift in Share of Working Age Populations. Source: NY Times|
|Declining Dependency Ratio in Pakistan. Source: Trading Economics/World Bank|
|Global Age Dependency Ratio Map. Source: World Population Review|
New York Times' visual journalist Lauren Leatherby recently described this major demographic and economic shift in the following words: "The richest most powerful countries today have long had these really large working-age populations. And economists agree that that’s been a huge, huge advantage economically and geopolitically. And meanwhile, a lot of developing nations have had quite high dependency ratios having a high number of children compared to working-age people. And so, I think we know a lot of these storylines one by one, but putting it all together, it’s just like the world is going to shift really dramatically".
|Current Share of Working Age Populations. Source: NY Times|
|Prijected Share of Working Age Populations in 2050. Source: NY Times|
|GDP Ranking Changes Till 2075. Source: Goldman Sachs Investment Research|
|Economic Growth Rate Till 2075. Source: Goldman Sachs Investment Research |
Economic Impact of Slower Population Growth:
Daly and Gedminas argue that slowing population growth in the developed world is causing their economic growth to decelerate. At the same time, the economies of the developing countries are driven by their rising populations. Here are four key points made in the report:
1) Slower global potential growth, led by weaker population growth.
2) EM convergence remains intact, led by Asia’s powerhouses. Although real GDP growth has slowed in both developed and emerging economies, in relative terms EM growth continues to outstrip DM growth.
3) A decade of US exceptionalism that is unlikely to be repeated.
4) Less global inequality, more local inequality.
|Goldman Sachs' Revised GDP Projections. Source: The Path to 2075|
With rapidly aging populations and declining number of working age people in North America, Europe and East Asia, the demand for workers will increasingly be met by major labor exporting nations like Bangladesh, China, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Russia and Vietnam. Among these nations, Pakistan is the only major labor exporting country where the working age population is still rising faster than the birth rate.
|Pakistan Population Youngest Among Major Asian Nations. Source: Nikkei Asia|
|World Population 2022. Source: Visual Capitalist|
|World Population 2050. Source: Visual Capitalist|
Over a million Pakistani university students are currently enrolled in STEM courses. Over 10 million Pakistanis are currently working/living overseas, according to the Bureau of Emigration. Before the COVID19 pandemic hit in 2020, more than 600,000 Pakistanis left the country to work overseas in 2019. Nearly 700,000 Pakistanis have already migrated in this calendar year as of October, 2022. The average yearly outflow of Pakistani workers to OECD countries (mainly UK and US) and the Middle East was over half a million in the last decade.
|Consumer Markets in 2030. Source: WEF|
World's 7th Largest Consumer Market:
Pakistan's share of the working age population (15-64 years) is growing as the country's birth rate declines, a phenomenon called demographic dividend. With its rising population of this working age group, Pakistan is projected by the World Economic Forum to become the world's 7th largest consumer market by 2030. Nearly 60 million Pakistanis will join the consumer class (consumers spending more than $11 per day) to raise the country's consumer market rank from 15 to 7 by 2030. WEF forecasts the world's top 10 consumer markets of 2030 to be as follows: China, India, the United States, Indonesia, Russia, Brazil, Pakistan, Japan, Egypt and Mexico. Global investors chasing bigger returns will almost certainly shift more of their attention and money to the biggest movers among the top 10 consumer markets, including Pakistan. Already, the year 2021 has been a banner year for investments in Pakistani technology startups.
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