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Median Age of the Population in China, India, Europe and the United States of America, 1950-2100 (years)

China

India

Europe (48)

USA

Source: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2011): World Population Prospects, the 2010 Revision. New York. See: www.unpopulation.org
Notes: Due to limitation of space country names were abbreviated. China stands for People's Republic of China, USA stands for United States of America.

Population ageing is often misunderstood as a problem of Europe. However, as these figures illustrate, some of the most drastic trends of population ageing can be observed in Asian countries with rapid fertility decline, such as China. The figures show the median age of the population in China, India, Europe and the United States of America. The median age divides a population in two parts of equal size, that is, there are as many persons with ages above the median as there are with ages below the median. The data are from the most recent revision of the World Population Prospects, released by the United Nations Population Division on May 4, 2011.

Currently, China's population has a median age of almost 35 years - up from 20 years in 1970. For comparison, the median age of India's population is only around 25 years - up from below 20 in 1970. India's population is about 10 years younger (on average) than China's. On the other hand, Europe's population has a median age in 2010 of 40 years - up from 30 years in 1950. The median age of the population in the United States of America is not much younger - about 37 years in 2010 - up from 28 years in 1970.

Future trends in population ageing will be quite dramatic in China: The median age is projected to peak around 2065 at a little below 50 years of age. In other words: according to the United Nations (medium variant) World Population Prospects half of the population in China will be older than 50 by the year 2060. This is the long-term consequence of China's drastic fertility decline due to the "one-child policy". If fertility in China would stay constant at the current extremely low level, China's median age of the population could actually increase to 52 years by 2100. These data show that population ageing is projected to be much more severe in China than in India, the United States of America or even Europe.

In India, the median age of the population is expected to increase from 25 years today to more than 45 years in 2100. In Europe, the median age of the population will peak at about 42 years in 2035 - but then it is expected to decline to under 45 years. The median age in the United States of America, which is now at 37 years, will slowly, but steadily, increase to about 43 years in 2100 (only two years less than in Europe).

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This section was updated on 12 June 2011

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china-profile.com - 18 April 2012