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Emerging Facets Of Demographic Transition And Changing Economic Lifestyles

Demographic trends witnessed from midst of last century till now particularly in economically rich nations identify various generational groups emerged on the basis of socio-economic circumstances prevailing during different phases of said period.

People born during the period immediately after World War II to mid sixties are labeled as Baby Boomers who enjoyed maximum economic subsidies particularly in area of housing, education and food and clothing being wealthiest and most physically active segment of population significantly promoted economic environments of “consumerism” and at this stage that is by 2017 they exist in age range of 55 to 70. Generation born during the period from 1965 to1980 is labeled as Generation X. They experienced slow economic growth rate during their young adulthood as compare to era of Baby Boomers who during their adulthood experienced robust economic growth rate as a result of accelerated efforts undertaken to revive economies after the end of World War II.

The recent generation group on the globe, now in their adulthood known as Millennials if compared to era of Baby Boomers and Generation X are not placed in a congenial environment of robustly growing economies and easy social set up due to changing nature of jobs. Baby Boomers and Generation X on the other hand at this stage of their working life have surety of having regular full time job with all employment and retirement benefits. Millennials almost everywhere are devoid of these traditional working environment particularly employment benefits. They find it harder to work in sharing economy with entrepreneurial spirit whether by economic necessity or through their free will. There is shift towards free lancing in all areas of working facilitated by digital technology. According to research findings of New York City professor Arun Sundrarajun 40 percent of independent workers in United States who make living as free lancers are Millennials.

Global economic crisis getting worst from year 2008 caused high unemployment rate among young work force, which consistently remained above 20 percent until 2016. Onslaught of digital technology and rapidly increasing aging population particularly in economically rich countries and also in some of the middle income countries other than South Asian countries has resulted in vanishing of full time jobs and traditional pension benefits. For financial success young generation of today is being forced to switch careers several times during their working life in quest of high financial returns from their jobs to ensure accumulation of required amount of savings for retired life.

In economically advanced countries where percentage of old people is increasing rapidly governments are faced with enormous financial impact for making provisions for pensions and retirement benefits, which particularly in USA (according to World Bank’s survey report) have increased from 4 percent of GDP to 9 percent in recent years. In order to curb the accelerating cost of pension, majority of the countries have either raised the retirement age to 65 or 67 or have made very strict eligibility criteria for retirement benefits. No doubt this socio economic trajectory is linked with various phases of population trends in relevant period hold good for economically advanced countries yet in course of time quite a number of emerging economies have also replicated this approach in one way or other.

But now globalization and advancement in technology is affecting economic way of life everywhere on the globe simultaneously. As economic circumstances of young adults everywhere on the globe had varied across generations, which at the same time has given rise to different patterns of economic assets building like owning house, savings and investment ensuring comfortable lifestyle after retirement. However young adults of today are faced with difficult period of economic activity due to onslaught of new technologies, significant increase in dependant segments of population and rising cost of acquiring quality education particularly professional education and also for doing business.

Rising cost of acquiring higher and professional education compels Millennials to borrow for completing their education and it takes long to settle this liability and after they take up a job then growing environment of no retirement benefit compels them to forcibly save not only for owning house of their own, but also to live comfortably at old age. Hence their capacity for assets building at an early employment age is slow as compare to their elders from Baby Boomers and Generation X when they were in this age group.

According to World Bank report in economically advanced countries Millennials home ownership rates are 3 percentage point lower than what were with Gaby Boomers and Generation X at same age due to high mortgage pay outs. The report also reveals that working millenniums in UK generally think of having house of their own after the age of 30 when they can comfortably make provision for payment of mortgage installments. Due to housing constraints coupled with other economic factors a gradual move towards joint family system is now visible everywhere on the globe.

No doubt about recession of 2008 resulting in stagnant growth rate has affected all generational segments of population, but Millennials having lesser assets have little exposure to financial losses. Now after economies of rich countries in particular started reviving, Millennials making use of digital technologies have ventured in to non traditional and free lancing areas of earning their livelihood and resultantly have improved their net worth by almost 40 percent during the period from 2010 to 2013 and they have long life ahead to build up economic assets.

In Pakistan where rate of growth of population is still very high so much so that average family size is 6 with one working adult, possibility of building assets is negligible. Pakistan under present circumstances and growth potentials need to have an average family size of 4 with two working adults. This will enable young work force to save and invest more culminating into higher productivity and higher GDP growth rate for times to come.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a good opportunity for offering employment to youth and developing infrastructure and time line of logistics and transshipment to make possible regional integration with South Asian countries for trade relations.

Roads and motorways energy producing projects planned by Pakistan government under its own Public Sector Development Program and also for which provision has been made under CPEC will provide easy access to Middle East and European countries, favorably impacting country’s export trade and solving energy problems all aimed for creating employment opportunities for young workforce.

Environment for doing business needs to be improved. Skill training and use of latest technology are essential for youth to compete globally. Apart from that social inequality is the challenge being faced by the country. In this regard quality and sustained standard of education can remove disparities and can connect disadvantaged youth of rural population to employment and work opportunities in cities. In this regard sincere efforts are to be undertaken by policy makers to reform education system and improve digital and infrastructural connectivity, essential for fast growth of country’s economy.

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