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Future Issue: Demographic Shifts

31 December 2010

Demographic developments impact many social, economic, ecological, and political aspects of life. Their fundamental importance in shaping the key policy challenges of our society is quite often overlooked because of their ubiquity on the one hand and slow-pace-of-change on the other. Yet, demographic developments and their divergence within and across global regions have the potential to profoundly affect the future political, economic, social, and cultural order.

This report broadly sketches the demographic trajectories of seven geographically defined regions and highlights some of the threats and opportunities that may stem from each of these trajectories. Rather than relying solely on the traditional UN demographic projections, this assessment mined other studies for their insights and identified shared views of future demographic developments as well as their implications, while at the same time pointing out the significant number of uncertainties that exist in these future perspectives.

In addition, the research reviewed how potential opportunities originating from demographic shifts could be spurred and negative implications could be countered. Thus, it examined possible policy directions in the field of security, technology & innovation, sustainable development, and economy & society.

Experts on this report

Director of the Strategic Futures Program

Erik Frinking

Erik Frinking is the Director of the Strategic Futures Program at HCSS. He holds a Master’s degree in Political Science from Leiden University.

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Strategic Analyst

Tim Sweijs

Tim Sweijs is a Senior Strategist. He is the initiator, creator and author of numerous studies, methodologies, and tools for research projects in horizon scanning, conflict analysis, international and national security risk assessment, and capability development.

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