The average age in the country with the oldest population is three times as high as that in the one with the youngest. This country is not in Europe, but Europe is the ‘oldest’ continent – just as it is often referred to.
Situation in Hungary
According to the data of the Central Statistical Office, the average age in Hungary is 43 years; 41 years for men and 45 for women. The difference is understandable, as women in Hungary on average live 7 years longer than men. 43 years is the highest figure ever; the average age is constantly rising. At the beginning of the last century it was still less than 30 years; while 60 years ago, in 1960, it was 33.6.
Average age of the population in Hungary on January 1in each year.
50 years ago the same figure was 35.7, and it barely increased in the following years due to the last great birth boom that took place in the 1970s. It went past 40 first in 2005, after which it started growing faster, partly because of low birth rates and partly due to higher life expectancy.
The domestic figures are in line with those in other European countries; data from the EU and also from our region are fairly similar. The European average is 42.7 years, making Europe the continent with the oldest population and the only one with an average over 40. The average in the European Union is 44 years, with the oldest population living in Germany and Italy, with an average of around 46.5 years. Although this number is higher in Monaco, but it is a mini-state with a few tens of thousands of inhabitants so it is not to be taken it into account, as any minor migration balance can lead to large disparities. You can barely find a country with an average below 40; and only two countries with an Albanian population – Albania and Kosovo – are significantly below 40. Interestingly, however, there is a very big difference between the two, as the average age of the population in Albania is 36 years, while the same in Kosovo is only 30, which is by far the lowest among the European countries.
The discrepancy is due to the fact that the average life expectancy is much higher in Mediterranean Albania and, in addition, the birth rate has dropped since the change of regime as it usually happens in countries that start developing very rapidly. At the same time, Kosovo was the most underdeveloped region of Yugoslavia, locked between mountains, where, before the country became independent, the way of life, the standard of living, and also the number of births were similar to those in Africa. The average age was even lower a decade or two ago, but since then many people have left the country, and obviously it is mostly the young who have emigrated in larger numbers.
World average and the record holder
Let's look at the data of the world now, and first of all let’s answer the question in the headline. The average population of the world is 31 years old, i.e. the total humanity of almost 8 billion people is young, although there are very big differences between the individual continents, regions and countries. Unsurprisingly, the country with the oldest population in the world is Japan with an average of 48.5 years. The country has a low birth rate and very high life expectancy, while there is practically no immigration. Japan is followed by the European countries already mentioned: Germany and Italy; Portugal and Greece are fourth and fifth, and also sixth-ranked Spain’s average is over 45 years.
An average of over 40 years is not typical outside Europe; it is 43 years in South Korea, the most highly developed country in Asia after Japan, and 42 years in Taiwan and Singapore. In the American continent, Cuba, a country that can hardly be considered developed, is on top of the list with 42 years, closely followed by Canada, a very rich country, in contrast.
United States, China and India
Interestingly, the United States is younger with its 38.3 years, which has two main reasons. One is the still significant rate of immigration, and the other is the fact that the U.S. is ethnically highly diverse compared to Europe or East Asia, with ethnic groups whose birth rates are typically higher. Another interesting country is China, where concerns often arise about the aging of the population, but the current average is still only 38 years. Another country worth mentioning is India, with a population similar to China (nearly 1.4 billion), where the average age is only 28.5 years.
The youngest countries are in the middle of Africa, where the average age is under 20 everywhere, the youngest in the world being Niger, with an average of 15 years. Outside of Africa, Afghanistan is the only country with an average below 20, while there are three more countries, East Timor, Palestine, and Iraq, where the average age of the population is between 20 and 21 years.