India will emerge as an economic superpower supplying more than half the increase in Asia’s potential workforce over the coming decade in a developing scenario where demography is shifting the balance of power in Asia, according to Deloitte’s “Voice of Asia” report. “India is among a handful of South Asian countries that sits on a demographic gold mine. India has a median population age of 27.3 years compared to that of 35 years for China and around 47 years for Japan,” the Indian arm of British financial services multinational Deloitte said in a release here on Monday.
“Demographic growth is significant as it is intrinsically linked to economic growth and, therefore, cannot be ignored,” it said.
With about 12 million people added to the working age population every year, India will drive the third great wave of Asian growth after Japan and China earlier. India’s potential workforce is set to rise from 885 million people now to 1.08 billion people in the next twenty years.
Deloitte India Lead Economist Anis Chakravarty said: “India will account for more than half of the increase in Asia’s workforce in the coming decade. The consequences for businesses are huge.” While India and some Southeast Asian economies are seeing an increase in their working age population, most Asian nations are ageing, which will also generate a growth cluster of new business opportunities, according to Deloitte. “Ageing populations may well be challenging to some nations, but they will also present some incredible business opportunities within those same nations,” it said.
By 2042 there will be more over-65s in Asia than the populations of Europe and North America combined. This will provide a target-rich environment of business opportunities arising from trends such as rising life expectancy, increasing relative health care costs and tightening public sector budgets.
Asia is ageing fast, with a billion people in the region to be aged 65 and over by the middle of this century, Deloitte said. “The money being spent by and on ageing populations will grow even faster than Asia ages, because the impact of new technologies and the on-going management of increasing chronic conditions means health care costs will rise faster than most other costs,” it said.
“Private sector opportunities will grow even faster still, because stretched government budgets mean the share of health-related costs borne by taxpayers is likely to decrease in the decades ahead,” it added.