As the world grows older in the coming decades, economic growth will slow.
That forecast was issued Friday by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a group of 34 countries that includes all of the major industrialized nations.
“Aging will be a drag on growth in many countries,” said the report, titled “Looking to 2060: Long-Term Global Growth Prospects.” It also projected that while the aging of the population would be offset to some extent by better education in many countries, global growth in gross domestic product, which averaged 3.5 percent a year from 1995 through 2011, would rise to 3.7 percent through 2030, but then fall to just 2.3 percent over the next three decades.
“The active share of the population has to finance the old population,” said Asa Johansson, a senior economist in the organization and the principal author of the report, explaining why the rising proportion of older people is expected to reduce growth. The phenomenon is known as the old-age dependency ratio, defined as the number of people above the age of 65 for each 100 people age 15-64, which defines the working-age population.
The process is expected to be particularly rapid in China.