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Generations: Demographic Trends in Population and Workforce


Generation names and age spans are defined somewhat differently depending on country and/or region. Roughly speaking, the following generation names and age spans are considered "global" generations:

Baby Boomers: 1946–1965 1
Generation X: 1966–19802  
Millennials: 1981–2000 3 



By 2020, Millennials Will Comprise Half the Global Workforce4 
  • 90% of people age 15 to 24 live in developing regions where there is a scarcity of good, stable jobs.5
  • Globally, Millennials are three times more likely to be unemployed than older working-age people.​6 


Australia's Population Is Aging7
  • In 2012, 19% of the population was 15 or younger.8
    • This is projected to decrease to 15–18% in 2061. ​9
  • In 2012, 14% of the population was 65 or older.10
    • This is projected to increase to 22% by 2061.​11


Canada Has One of the Highest Percentages of Working-Age People of All G8 Countries12


In 2011, 68.5% of Canada’s population was working-age (15–64). 13

Canada has an aging population due to increased life span and decreased birth rates. 14

  • 18.7% of those employed in Canada are just 55 or older.15

    • This is an increase of more than 20% since 2006.16


The EU's Workforce Is Shrinking17


Millennials are the European Union’s minority population18

Overall, people who are very old (80 years or older), comprise the fastest growing population segment in the European Union (EU).19

  • The retirement-age population will be larger than the working-age population in the coming decades.20
  • The working-age population is expected to continue to decline until 2050.21 
  • As the population ages and the workforce shrinks, the EU will face economic challenges to the social model, welfare systems, and economic growth.22



By 2020, Half of India’s Population Will Be Younger Than 25 Years Old23
  • India will not face a labor shortage when the Baby Boomers retire, but it will face a talent shortage.24


Japan Is a “Super-Ageing” Society25
  • More than 26% of Japan’s population is 65 or older.26
  • Women 75 and older comprise nearly 15% of the population.27
  • By 2060, nearly 40% of Japan’s population is projected to be 65 or older.28 

United States

Millennials Will Soon Comprise the Largest Demographic in the United States29

There are currently 73 million people age 18 to 34 in the United States.30

  • While still smaller than the Baby Boom generation, and despite declining from 30% in 1980 to 23% today, this is the largest Millennial population in 30 years.31
  • By 2020, Millennials will account for one in three adults.32

Today, one-third of all working-age people are Millennials.33

  • As Millennials continue to graduate from college that number will increase.34
  • By 2025, Millennials will account for three-quarters of working-age people.35
Despite the Increase in Millennials’ Representation, the Overall US Population Continues to Grow Older

The population of older Americans is expected to more than double by 2060.36

  • Today, Baby Boomers range in age from 51 to 69 years old.37 
  • In 2012, of employed women and men age 55 and older: 

    • 43.2% of women held management, professional, and related positions.38

    • 42.6% of men held management, professional, and related positions.39

The population of working-age adults is expected to decrease by 5% by 2060.40

Millennials Are Increasingly Likely to be Foreign-Born With a First Language Other Than English41
  • Today, 25% of Millennials speak a language other than English at home.42
  • As of 2013, the number of foreign-born people age 18 to 34 has increased 150% since 1980 (from 6% to 15%).43


Additional Resources

Catalyst, Revealing the Real Millennials (March 2, 2015).

Catalyst, Revealing the Real Millennials: Successes and Aspirations (May 6, 2015).

Catalyst, Revealing the Real Millennials: Career Expectations (July 13, 2015).

Pew Research Center, “Millennials.”


How to cite this product: Catalyst. Catalyst Quick Take: Generations in the Workplace. New York: Catalyst, 2015.