The population throughout many countries in the world has aged over the past decade. People tend to live longer because of better medical care and healthier habits. However, some nations, particularly underdeveloped ones, have not benefited from these as much as highly developed nations. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic may drop the average age of some populations, or even reduce them.
As populations age, a critical problem emerges. This has started to happen in China, the world’s largest nation at over 1.3 billion people. People who retire have to be replaced in China’s massive workforce. There are not enough children to replace those reaching age 70 and older. The aging population also puts a financial burden on the government as more and more people need retirement benefits.
In some nations, the problem of aging populations does not exist. The percentage of the population under 14 in several nations is over 40%.
To identify the countries with the youngest populations in the world, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the percentage of each country’s population ages 65 and older, total population and age dependency ratio (the ratio of those older than 65 to the working-age population) from the World Bank’s World Development Indicators for 2019.
In addition to their economic struggles, many of the countries on this list are plagued with civil unrest and sometimes outright war, as well as environmental issues such as drought and desertification. Many have suffered substantially from COVID-19 as well. Yet, it would be wrong to see only the challenges they face. Countries with young populations can be vibrant, energetic and quick to seize the opportunities that come their way.
Niger has the youngest population of any nation in the world. The population that was 14 and under in 2019 was 11,618,566. That was 49.8% of the total population of 23,310,715. The age dependency ratio was 104.8 younger individuals per 100 working-age residents, which put it at number one out of 193 countries.