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Age and Migration Will Cause North America to be the Fifth Largest Region in 2030

In 2030, the population of North America will reach 401 million, an increase of 12.2% from 2015. This will make it the fifth largest world region. Population aged 60+ will experience the highest growth in the region, with an increase of 31.0 million or 41.2% in 2015-2030. By 2030, the marriage rate in North America is expected to reach 6.5 marriages per ‘000, significantly lower than 10.3 in 1980. As natural change (death vs. births) slows down in 2015-2030, net migration will become a more important driver of population growth. It should account for 60.6% of population growth in 2030, up from 50.8% in 2015.

Age is Set to Rise

North America’s median age is set to rise from 38.1 years in 2015 to 40.5 years in 2030, making it the third oldest region after Western and Eastern Europe over this period. Canada has a significantly higher median age than the USA, this will continue to be the case in 2030 with median ages of 42.9 years and 40.3 years.  The number of 0-14 year olds is expected to rise gradually (by 3.8%) in 2015-2030 to total 69.3 million. However, their proportion in total population will fall from 18.7% in 2015 to 17.3% in 2030.

The working age population (15-64) will also increase at a moderate pace in 2015-2030, rising by 4.6%, to total 248 million. Their share in total population will also fall, from 66.3% in 2015 to 61.8% in 2030.  The 65+ group is set to increase by 55.9% in 2015- 2030 to total 84.0 million in 2030. This group will outnumber those aged 0-14 by 21.1% by 2030, after overtaking them for the first time in 2022.  The very elderly (80+) will increase at a similar pace, by 63.1%, in 2015-2030 and their share in total population is set to reach 5.6% in 2030, up from 3.9% in 2015.

Marriage and Divorce Lowers

Like most other world regions, the marriage rate in North America is in decline. However, at 6.7 marriages per ‘000 in 2015, it was higher than the rates in Australasia, Western Europe and Latin America. By 2030, the marriage rate in North America is expected to reach 6.5 marriages per ‘000, significantly lower than 10.3 in 1980. The USA’s marriage rate of 6.8 per ‘000 in 2030 will be significantly higher than Canada’s rate of 3.9. Influenced by the falling marriage rate, the share of married people in the population will fall from 42.6% in 2015 to 42.1% in 2030.  The average age at first marriage will be 31.3 years for men and 29.7 years for women in 2030, an increase of over a year compared to 2015.  Unlike most other world regions, North America’s divorce rate is in decline and is expected to fall from 3.0 divorces per ‘000 in 2015 to 2.9 per ‘000 in 2030, nearly half the rate it was in 1980. 10.7% of the region’s population will be divorced in 2030, up slightly from 10.3% in 2015.

Migration Rises by 2030

Net migration has been positive for over three decades and will fluctuate at around 1.5-1.6 million more people arriving than leaving between 2015 and 2030.  As natural change slows down in 2015-2030, net migration will become a more important driver of population growth. It should account for 60.6% of population growth in 2030, up from 50.8% in 2015.  Canada and the USA have similar shares of foreign citizens in their populations (6.2% and 6.8% respectively in 2015). By 2030, Canada’s share will reach 6.7% and the USA’s will fall to 6.5%. These are comparable shares to many countries in Western Europe.

Overall, As natural change slows down in 2015-2030, net migration will become a more important driver of population growth. It should account for 60.6% of population growth in 2030, up from 50.8% in 2015.Urban population is expected to rise by 15.8%, faster than the rate of total population growth, in 2015-2030. By 2030 it will total 344 million and account for 85.9% of the total population of North America.

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