By Narayan Ammachchi
Mexico is set to outpace its northern neighbor the United States in terms of population growth, but the growth rate in Brazil is likely to slow down significantly, according to a survey from Pew Research.
“In percentage terms, the growth in the U.S. population (28%) should exceed the growth in Argentina (26%) and Brazil (18%),” said the Pew report, which features a survey of 21 countries across the globe. The research firm expects Mexico’s population to grow at 32% in the years ahead through 2050.
But what is posing a serious challenge in Latin America is the sharp rise in the median age of the population. Mexico, Brazil and Argentina’s populations are currently seven to 11 years younger than the U.S., yet the report notes that “in 2050, the median age in Brazil should be 44, three years older than in the U.S. Mexico may also turn older than the U.S. with a median age of 42, and Argentina will nearly catch up to the U.S.”
The rapid increases in median age are a reflection of the rising proportion of seniors (65 and older) in the populations of these countries. In the U.S., the share of seniors is expected to increase from 13.1% in 2010 to 21.4% in 2050. But it may triple in Mexico, from 6% to 20.2%, and in Brazil, from 6.9% to 22.5%. The share will almost double in Argentina, rising to 19.4% in 2050.
That means by 2050, seniors will outnumber young children in Brazil, Mexico and Argentina.
With the exception of Nigeria and Kenya, all countries in this study are set to experience large, proportional increases in the old-age dependency ratio. For example, the number of seniors per 100 working-age people in Mexico and Brazil are projected to more than triple from 2010 to 2050.
The survey has used population data gathered by the United Nations to calculate the population growth of the countries represented.