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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: 1946–19641
Generation X: 1965–19802
Millennials:  After 19803



By 2025, Millennials Will Comprise Three-Quarters of the Global Workforce4 
  • People between the ages 15 to 24 make up almost 20% of the world’s population.5
    • They account for more than 15% of the global labor force.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 2016, 67.4% 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

  • 20.7% of those employed in Canada are just 55 or older.15


The EU's Workforce Is Shrinking16


Millennials are the European Union’s minority population.17

The population of the very old (80 years or older), is projected to double by 2080 (from 5.3% in 2015 to 12.3% in 2080) in the European Union (EU).18

  • The retirement-age population will be larger than the working-age population in the coming decades.19

  • The working-age population is expected to continue to decline through 2050.20 
  • As the population ages and the workforce shrinks, the EU will face economic challenges to the social model, welfare systems, and economic growth.21



By 2020, Over One-Third of India’s Population Will Be Between the Ages of 15-34 Years Old22
  • A major barrier to India benefitting from a demographic dividend (growing youth population) is the low labor force participation of women.23


Japan Is a “Super-Ageing” Society24
  • More than 27% of Japan’s total population was 65 or older in 2016.25
  • Women 75 and older comprised over 15% of the total population in 2016.26
  • By 2050 over 35% of Japan’s population is projected to be 65 or older.27 

United States

Millennials Are Now the Largest Living Generation in the United States28


  • Millennials were one-quarter (83.1 million) of the total population and exceeded the population of Baby Boomers (75.4 million) in 2015.29
  • By 2020, Millennials will account for one in three adults.30

In 2015, one-third of all working-age people were Millennials.31

  • As Millennials continue to graduate from college that number will increase.32

  • By 2025, Millennials will account for three-quarters of working-age people.33
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 2060.34

  • In 2016, 61.8% of those 55-64 years old were employed.35
    • 18.6% of those 65 years old and over were employed.36
  • 77.9% of those aged 25-54 years old were employed in 2016.37

The population of working-age adults is expected to decrease by 5% by 2060.38

Millennials Are Increasingly Likely to be Foreign-Born With a First Language Other Than English39
  • In 2014, 25% of Millennials spoke a language other than English at home.40

  • As of 2013, the number of foreign-born people age 18 to 34 has increased 150% since 1980 (from 6% to 15%).41


Additional Resources

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

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

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

Pew Research Center, “Millennials.”


How to cite this product: Catalyst. Catalyst Quick Take: Generations in the Workplace. New York: Catalyst, July 20, 2017.