3.4.3 Population Movements and Demographics

Population movements and demographics affect the availability of labour and customer demand, which are linked to employment opportunities.

Economic growth depends on people.  The Role of Population in Economic Growth was analysed in a Sage Journals article in 2017, drawing on 200 years of historical data:

“Low population growth in high-income countries is likely to create social and economic problems while high population growth in low-income countries may slow their development. International migration could help to adjust these imbalances but is opposed by many.”

“..Population growth affects many phenomena such as the age structure of a country’s population, international migration, economic inequality, and the size of a country’s work force. These factors both affect and are affected by overall economic growth.”

The political issues arising from changes in population are described later (6.7.4), but the focus here is on their economic impact.  Earlier sections have described the role of people as wealth creators (3.2.1) and as consumers (3.2.2).  Specifically, the right skills must be available for wealth to be created (3.2.5).  And the population makes demands on government spending for services, infrastructure, and a social safety net (3.2.3).

The economic consequences of population movements and demographics are described in the following sub-sections:

●  Populations grow and shrink for several reasons, and so do employment opportunities. There are constant imbalances between the supply of labour and the demand for it (

●  If businesses move work elsewhere, or if people emigrate, the economy will shrink ( This has a destabilising effect which needs careful management.

●  People migrating to an area, for whatever reason, have a broadly positive effect on that area’s economy ( As reported by the IMF, Migration to Advanced Economies Can Raise Growth.



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This page is intended to form part of Edition 4 of the Patterns of Power series of books.  An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition04/343.htm.