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AARP Report Finds that Older Population Makes Significant Contributions to Global Economy

Economic power of the 50-plus is transforming economies and generating opportunities for every generation around the world.


The 50-plus population’s contribution to global gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to more than double over the next 30 years, with significant growth occurring throughout this decade, according to AARP’s new Global Longevity Economy® Outlook. The research conducted by Economist Impact examines the current and future economic contributions of the global 50-plus population. The report measures the 50-plus population’s economic impacts worldwide and in 76 representative economies, covering 95% of global GDP and 79% of the world’s population.


Despite accounting for only 24% of the world population in 2020, people age 50 and older accounted for about 34% of global GDP ($45 trillion, or roughly three times the combined revenue of the 100 highest-earning companies in that year). This contribution is expected to grow to 39% of global GDP by 2050 ($118 trillion). These impacts are not limited to wealthier economies; many of the developing economies examined in the report rely heavily on the global 50-plus population to support GDP, employment, and labor income.


Additional key findings include:

  • The 50-plus population already accounted for half of global consumer spending ($35 trillion) in 2020, and by 2050 this figure will reach nearly 60% ($96 trillion).

  • In 2020, the 50-plus population was responsible for roughly half or more of global spending in the five largest consumer categories: health (60%), miscellaneous goods and services, which include professional and financial services (52%), housing and utilities (51%), food and beverages (49%), and transport (49%).

  • Through its spending on goods and services, the 50-plus population supported one-third of the world’s jobs in 2020 (just over 1 billion) totaling $23 trillion in labor income. By 2050 they are projected to support 1.5 billion jobs, generating $53 trillion in global labor income.

“Older adults are consumers, workers, caregivers, volunteers and serve other critical roles in our societies. Their contributions spur economic growth that benefits all generations, as well as communities and businesses,” said Jean Accius, Senior Vice President of Global Thought Leadership at AARP. “Policymakers and business leaders can benefit more fully from the global longevity economy by combatting age discrimination, encouraging multigenerational workforces, and tailoring products and services to meet the needs of a rapidly aging population.”


View the full Global Longevity Economy® Outlook at aarp.org/GlobalLongevityEconomy.

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