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The 27 Trends Defining the Future of the Global Economy


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

If a picture is worth a thousand words, so is a sharp data visualization.

Editorial Rating



  • Comprehensive
  • Analytical
  • Applicable


Global economies and societies are changing quickly – so quickly, in fact, that the standard format of a book filled with words might not help readers make sense of it all. That’s the idea behind this work, which compiles hundreds of data visualizations about more than two dozen broad topics of interest to managers, employees and investors. Jeff Desjardins runs a media site that creates graphics that are at once elegant, dynamic and illuminating, and they illustrate a variety of trends, including population shifts, climate change and wealth inequality. Consider this a graphic novel about global economics.


The global population is aging dramatically.

In 1970, the median age of the world’s population was just 21.5 years. By 2020, that number had risen to 30.9 years. By 2100, the median age globally will be 41.9 years, according to the United Nations. Meanwhile, the worldwide population of people aged 65 and older is expected to soar from 703 million in 2019 to 1.55 billion in 2050. This demographic trend will present new challenges for the public sector, the private sector and investors.

People worldwide are having fewer babies, and the aging trend will be most pronounced in Asia. In South Korea, the share of the population aged 65 and older is projected to rise from 15.1% in 2019 to 38.1% in 2050. In Singapore, the over-65 share should climb from 12.4% today to 33.3% in 2050. Taiwan, Macau, the Maldives, Hong Kong and Thailand also will see sharply graying populations in coming decades. The “silver economy” will boom, but the shift creates problems, too. For instance, the World Economic Forum forecasts the global shortfall in pension assets will balloon from $67 trillion now to $428 trillion by 2050.

The worldwide migration to urban areas is escalating...

About the Author

Jeff Desjardins is the founder and editor-in-chief of Visual Capitalist, a digital media site that creates data-driven visual content focused on global trends, investing, technology and the economy.

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