In 1970, just under one-half (48 percent) of the world’s population was younger than 20, a nearly equal percentage was ages 20 to 64, and only 5 percent was 65 and older. Today, as a result of lower fertility rates and longer life expectancy, the share of global population under age 20 has dropped to about 35 percent, the population between ages 20 and 64 represent 58 percent, and ages 65 and older represent 7 percent. Asia, Latin America, and Oceania all have population age structures similar to the global averages. In 1970, Europe and North America were similar to the world average today, and their slower growth resulted in a current population much older than the global average. Africa’s population is at the other end of the age spectrum—Africa’s current youthful age structure is much like the global average in 1970.

See more in the 2014 World Population Data Sheet.