Knowledge Center

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:1

Baby Boomers: 1946–1964
Generation X: 1965–1980
Millennials:  1981-1996
Post-Millennials/Generation Z: After 1997 


By 2025, Millennials Will Comprise Three-Quarters of the Global Workforce2
  • People between the ages 15 to 24 make up almost 20% of the world’s population.3
  • They account for more than 15% of the global labor force.4  
Asia Will Feel the Greatest Impact of Aging5

The increase in India’s working age population in the next decade will account for more than half of the total increase across Asia.6

  • India could better benefit from their demographic dividend (growing youth population) by increasing the labor force participation of women.7

Despite China’s large labor force, the aging population and decline in young adults has led to labor shortages in certain industries.8

Japan's population is quickly shrinking and aging.9

  • Japan’s population is currently declining by a quarter of a million people per year, with a projected increase to half a million in the next ten years.10
  • Almost 28% of Japan’s total population was 65 or older in 2018.11


Australia's Population Is Aging12
  • In 2012, 19% of the population was 15 or younger.13
    • This is projected to decrease to 15–18% in 2061.14
  • In 2012, 14% of the population was 65 or older.15
    • This is projected to increase to 22% by 2061.16



Despite a Total Decrease in the Working-Age Population, Canada Has the Highest Proportion of the G7 Countries17
  • In 2016, 66.5% of Canada’s population was working-age (15–64).18

Canada has an aging population, with the largest increase in seniors in 70 years.19

  • 21.1% of those employed in Canada in 2017 were 55 or older.20

  • Those leaving the labor force outnumber those about to join.21 


The EU's Workforce Is Shrinking22

Millennials are the European Union’s minority population.23

The population of the very old (80 years or older), is projected to double by 2080 (from 5.5% in 2017 to 12.7% in 2080) in the European Union (EU).24

  • The population of adults in retirement age (65 years or older) will make up almost 30% of the EU’s population by 2080, compared to only 19.4% in 2017.25

The retirement-age population will be larger than the working-age population in the coming decades.26

  • The working-age population is expected to continue to decline through 2050.27 
  • As the population ages and the workforce shrinks, the EU will face economic challenges to the social model, welfare systems, and economic growth.28

United States

Millennials Account for Over a Third of the US Labor Force29
  • Millennials will soon be the largest living generation in the United States.30 
  • Post-millennials have started working, making up 5% of the labor force.31 
Despite the Increase in Millennials’ Representation, the Overall US Population Continues to Grow Older32

The population of older Americans is expected to more than double by 2060.33

  • By 2030, 1 in 5 US residents will be retirement age.34

The population of working-age adults is expected to decrease by 5% by 2060.35

Young Immigrants Will Continue to Contribute to the Growth of Working Millennials36


  • Millennials are increasingly likely to be foreign-born with a first language other than English.37
  • In 2014, 25% of Millennials spoke a language other than English at home.38

  • By 2030, net migration is projected to become the primary cause of population growth in the United States.39



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).


Deloitte, "Meet the US Workforce of the Future: Older, More Diverse, and More Educated" (2017). 


EY, Next-gen Workforce: Secret Weapon or Biggest Challenge? (2016). 


EY, Study: Work-life Challenges Across Generations (2015). 


Harvard Business Review, "A Survey of 19 Countries Shows How Generations X, Y, and Z Are – and Aren't  Different" (2017). 


Pew Research Center, “Millennials.”




How to cite this product: Catalyst, Quick Take: Generations in the Workplace (August 20, 2018).