E.g., 06/25/2024
E.g., 06/25/2024
Emerging Demographic Trends in Asia and the Pacific: Implications for International Migration
October 2008

Emerging Demographic Trends in Asia and the Pacific: Implications for International Migration

From 1960 to 2000, the region experienced a major population boom. Fertility rates are declining, however, which means this exponential growth will not be sustained in the medium to long term.

Asia’s working-age population (ages 15 to 64) is growing at around 1.5 percent per year, which is slightly above the world average. However, this growth rate will decrease sharply over the next two decades. The pattern is even more dramatic for the “migration-prone” 15-to-34 age group, which is increasing at less than half the rate of the overall workforce and will begin to decline in the 2020s. By 2040, the 15-to-34 age group population will start to shrink.

Two significant demographic trends explain why the exponential growth is not expected to last: rapid fertility decline and simultaneous increases in life expectancy. The region’s demographic transition, which first produced a “youth bulge,” will eventually result in population aging as the “boom generation” passes through the age structure. However, this age structure is not the same across the Asian continent due to huge intraregional differences in both the timing and magnitude of change. South Asia and some parts of Southeast Asia show rapid population growth while East Asia is experiencing a noticeable decline. Still, the absolute and relative size of the population will remain high. By 2030, the region will represent around 55 percent of the total global population in the 15-to-34 age group — a generation that is increasingly better educated and more integrated into global, economic, and social systems — and will therefore continue to be a critical player in global migration.

Table of Contents 

I. Introduction

II. Demographic Trends in East, Southeast, South-Central, and South Asia

III. The Implications for International Migration

IV. Conclusion