The modern global economy came into being over the last 250 years at the same time as a huge explosion of people on the planet. This is not mere coincidence; the modern economy and population growth are inextricably linked, as enablers, beneficiaries, and possibly victims of the other. After a long period of growth, two trends are evident in the twenty-first century. First, the total population is still growing, with more people added to the planet every year. Second, population growth is slowing with the total population thought to be leveling off later in the century.
A larger population means more demand for products, jobs, benefits, resources, and public and environmental goods. Slowing population growth means fewer workers with an increased average age. The latter leads almost invariably to a lower percentage of taxpaying workers to benefit-receiving retirees, or an increased dependency ratio. Most economies have obligations to their retirees regardless of how many there are. There are risks and opportunities in both subtrends: growth and slowing growth.
The full summaries include background, likelihood, and contributing and mitigating factors.