Re: How a Vast Demographic Shift Will Reshape the World

Written by Marian Starkey | Published: July 17, 2023

We submitted the following letter to the editor on July 17, 2023, and are sharing it below since it wasn’t published by The New York Times.

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Dear Editor,

Thank you for publishing such a balanced article (How a Vast Demographic Shift Will Reshape the World) about demography and economic growth—it’s rare to see media on this subject that doesn’t fearmonger about “running out of” young people to support elderly ones.

Lauren Leatherby managed to convey the [solvable] economic challenges an aging population presents to governments, while acknowledging that aging is a massive achievement in a nation’s health and development. She also does something uncommon in such articles by outlining the economic and societal benefits of smaller families and fewer youth dependents.

Ms. Leatherby discusses the economic boon, or “demographic dividend,” to poorer countries that could result if their fertility rates continued to decline and if they increased investment in education and employment. Those are big ifs.

We must be forward-thinking when contemplating how to gracefully accommodate a rising share of elderly people, and we should apply that same forethought to international family planning funding considerations.

Marian Starkey
Vice President for Communications
Population Connection