Magazine article USA TODAY

Trends Affecting Tomorrow's World

Magazine article USA TODAY

Trends Affecting Tomorrow's World

Article excerpt

The "55 Trends Shaping Tomorrow's World" report has been released by The World Future Society, Bethesda, Md., produced jointly by science writer Owen Davies and Marvin Cetron, a former White House advisor and current president of Forecasting International.

"For more than four decades, Forecasting International has conducted an ongoing study of the forces changing our world. One of the values of tracking major trends over such a long period is that we usually can see whether sudden shifts are indicators of seismic transitions or merely temporary anomalies or fads. This has made it possible for us to anticipate many specific developments in fields ranging from terrorist studies to the future of commercial laundries," notes the report's introduction.

Among the trends covered are:

The changing nature of family. "In the U.S., one-third of Gen-Xers have returned home at some point in their early lives. Among the millennial generation, the figure is even higher."

The Dry Century. "By 2040, at least 3,500,000,000 people will run short of water, almost 10 times as many as in 1995. The water table in Beijing, China, has fallen nearly 200 feet since 1965. By 2050, fully two-thirds of the world's population could be living in regions with chronic, widespread shortages of water."

Global aging. "Worldwide, the elderly (defined by officials as age 65 and older) numbered 440,000,000 and represented six percent of the global population in 2002. Their numbers will nearly double by 2020 and more than triple by 2050, to nearly 17% of total population, according to the U. …

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