Elderly People Lead Asian Cities’ Demographics

We are pleased to announce the launch of our strategy briefing City Demographics 2030: Future Trends, Opportunities and Challenges which offers a comprehensive overview of the demographic changes set to occur in urban areas through to 2030. Cities are often embellished for their youthful appearance, drawing in young adults in search of employment, education and training opportunities. However, while this may still be true, our Passport Cities database suggests that cities are, in reality, ageing at an imperious rate, and are set to continue to do so through to 2030. The elderly will set to be the dominate age group in most areas of the world, especially in Asia and developing regions.

Group of people in Asia crossing crosswalk on gloomy day.

Cities will not be immune to the ageing process

Growth in Urban Populations by Age Segment, 2016-2030

Bar graph of growth in urban populations by age segment from 2016 to 2030. Age ranges are aged 0-14 years, aged 15-64 years, and aged 65+ years.

The elderly are expected to dominate population growth in urban areas in the period 2016-2030. According to our Passport Cities database, just about every city will observe a more rapid rise in the over 65 population compared to younger segments of the population. Between 2016 and 2030, the urban over 65 population is estimated to grow by 329 million— reaching 766 million and accounting for 15% of the population. It makes the market for the over 65s one of the most vibrant and important for businesses in the near-to-mid future.

East Asian cities to display largest rises in the elderly worldwide

Cities with the Largest Absolute Rise in Over 65s, 2016-2030

Graph of cities with the largest absolute rise in over 65's from 2016 through 2030 in millions. The cities are Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Bangkok, New York, Sao Paulo, Moscow, Jakarta, and Chongqing.

The ageing phenomenon has often been associated with developed regions of the world such as Japan or the US, however, the effect is expected to increasingly manifest itself across developing regions— most conspicuously in East Asia. Six of the 10 cities anticipated to be the largest contributors to the growth in the over 65s over 2016-2030 will be located in developing East Asia, with four alone being in China.

Cities are adapting to growing number of elderly people

Elderly couple looking before crossing the crosswalk.

Photo by Garry Knight: https://www.flickr.com/photos/garryknight/

Considering the changing demographic nature of cities, measures are being implemented to better adapt urban infrastructure to the elderly — surfacing from the need to ensure residents of cities are able to maintain their quality of life as they enter older age. We have seen, for instance cities utilising smart technologies to lengthen pedestrian crossing times or local governments advocating for compact city layouts to curb urban sprawl.