A demographic futurist explains the coming Super Age—when there will be more people older than sixty-five than those under the age of eighteen—and explores what it could mean for our collective future.
Societies all over the world are getting older, the result of the fact that we are living longer and having fewer children. At some point in the near future, much of the developed world will have at least twenty percent of their national populations over the age of sixty-five. Bradley Schurman calls this the Super Age. Today, Italy, Japan, and Germany have already reached the Super Age, and another ten countries will have gone over the tipping point in 2021. Thirty-five countries will be part of this club by the end of the decade. This seismic shift in the world population can portend a period of tremendous growth—or leave swaths of us behind.
Schurman explains how changing demographics will affect government and business and touch all of our lives. Fewer people working and paying income taxes, due to outdated employment and retirement practices, could mean less money feeding popular programs such as Social Security and Medicare—with greater numbers relying on them. The forced retirement or redundancy of older workers could impact business by creating a shortage of workers, which would likely drive wages up and result in inflation. Corporations, too, must rethink marketing strategies—older consumers are already purchasing the majority of new cars, and they are a growing and vitally important market for health technologies and housing. Architects and designers must re-create homes and communities that are more inclusive of people of all ages and abilities.
If we aren’t prepared for the changes to come, Schurman warns, we face economic stagnation, increased isolation of at-risk populations, and accelerated decline of rural communities. Instead, we can plan now to harness the benefits of the Super Age: extended and healthier lives, more generational cooperation at work and home, and new markets and products to explore. The choice is ours to make.
Bradley Schurman is a demographic futurist and opinion maker on all things dealing with the business of longevity. He’s the founder of The Super Age, a global strategic advisory firm. Bradley is a social connector who has built his reputation by helping leading organizations harness the opportunities of our increasingly older and generationally diverse world. He explains how shifting demographics and the collision of the megatrends of decreased birthrates and increased longevity are remaking social and economic norms in the United States and around the world.
"An intelligent warning to pay more attention to your elders. . . . Schurman combines ideas for an elderly-friendly future with a denunciation of present conditions. . . . Good insights for right now." — Kirkus Reviews
"[Schurman's] insistence on a more thoughtful approach to an aging society is buoyed by his optimism and his dedication to justice and care for all citizens: ‘The future may be gray,’ he writes, ‘but it’s incredibly bright.’ Policymakers and business leaders, take note." — Publishers Weekly
“The Super Age is upon us. Bradley Schurman inspires and challenges us to confront head-on the implications for the economy, business, how we live, and how we treat one another. He offers a road map for seizing the opportunities that are ahead and offers a clear view of the risks of inaction.” — Almar Latour, CEO, Dow Jones
“Global aging is transformational on the scale of climate change, the freight train we can see coming, and in The Super Age, Bradley Schurman reveals it to us in all its complexity and opportunity. Discarding the tired discourse of the burdens of an aging planet, he offers instead a fundamental revisioning of what life could look like—of what our lives could look like—a new world that is hugely exciting, if we do it right.” — Claire Casey, global head of Policy & Insights, Economist Impact, The Economist Group
“Demography may be destiny, yet there are few prognosticators who can see the future like Bradley Schurman. The Super Age is a super-readable book, a crystal ball into a society like we’ve never seen before. This book will help you tap into the longevity dividend.” — Chip Conley, New York Times bestselling author and founder, the Modern Elder Academy
“The Super Age provides one of the most comprehensive understandings of the gift of longevity and the work we need to do as a society to maximize the ability for all to age well. This timely book provides leaders the data, insights, and tangible solutions needed to tap into the moral, economic, and societal benefits of truly embracing the Super Age. Leaders from every sector (public, private, and nonprofit) should read and share the book.” — Ramsey Alwin, president and CEO, National Council on Aging (NCOA)
“This book is an eye-opener to those already in, or those preparing to serve, older and generationally diverse markets. Schurman gives both an objective view of the existing landscape and a bright road map for future growth. Customers are changing at a rapid pace, and in many cases, they are becoming healthier and wealthier. Those who truly understand and embrace the Super Age will be the winners.” — Jee Eun “Geannie” Cho, CEO, CIGNA Korea
“Be prepared to have your conception of aging—and the power potential of the ‘gray’ generation—turned upside down . . . or in this case, right side up.” — Rebecca Frankel, New York Times bestselling author of War Dogs and Into the Forest
“The Super Age focuses on one of the biggest trends that will shape our individual and collective future. It also shows in a nuanced and insightful way why the pessimism around an aging society is too simplistic to capture the fundamental changes that are happening and need to happen.” — Andrew Scott, professor of economics, London Business School, and coauthor of The 100-Year Life
“We have entered a new Super Age—which will profoundly alter public policies, education, careers, communities, and commerce. For business leaders, it is especially imperative to understand this and to rethink products, services, and markets in the new world of longevity. This book is the road map.” — Bill Novelli, professor of business, Georgetown University; former CEO, AARP; and author of Good Business
“Powerful and provocative. . . . Bradley Schurman breaks through as a much-needed, compelling new demographic futurist—and just in the nick of time.” — Michael Adams, CEO, SAGE
“At a time when ageism is on full display, Bradley Schurman’s The Super Age is a much-needed counterpoint to the dominant and negative narrative. . . . An invaluable resource for any business interested in diversity, equity, and inclusion.” — Fabrice Houdart, managing director, Out Leadership
“Beautifully written and magically orchestrated by Bradley Schurman, The Super Age is like a symphony where all the chords, the tones, the nuances about our demographic past, present, and future come together.” — Nicola Palmarini, director, UK National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA), and author of Immortali
“The Super Age brilliantly explores the new economic, political, social, and cultural norms that are reshaping our world—and how we got here. . . . A must read for anyone who wants to truly understand how these demographic megatrends will impact us all.” — Jake Rothstein, founder, Papa and UpsideHoM
“Thoroughly researched and elegantly written. . . . An excellent narrative about what is indeed the Super Age.” — Jim Mellon, founder and executive chairman, Burnbrae Group, and coauthor of Juvenescence
“Schurman describes a megatrend that cannot be debated, nor ignored: the Super Age. It urges you to stop discussing and start acting. That probably makes it the best book on aging yet.” — Arjan in ’t Veld, cofounder and CMO, The Aging Group BV
“Bradley lays forth a vision for the Super Age that is inclusive of all people, regardless of age, race, gender, or sexuality, as key contributors and consumers.” — Patrick Church, multimedia artist and fashion designer
“Will population aging lead to stagnation and decline, or a new era of innovation and human flourishing? There are daunting challenges, to be sure, but Schurman’s book offers hope for a brighter future. It’s a must read and a must reference.” — Paul Irving, chairman, Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging; distinguished scholar-in-residence, University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology; and chairman, Encore.org
“Aging, like gender equality and climate change, is an essential lens for any community, business or policy leader with foresight. Schurman's book gives a comprehensive view of the latest research on the complexities, challenges and opportunities of creating an age inclusive society.” — Cynthia Wu, executive director, Shin Kong Life Foundation
“Finally, a modern take on the perception of ageism, marginalization, and inequality for the rapidly evolving 50+ demographic. . . . Schurman shows us a path toward a hopeful future.” — Jeff Tidwell, founder and CEO, Next For Me
“Finally—everything you’ve ever wanted to know about age and longevity in one package, or rather under one cover! . . . The best part is the optimism about the future of longevity and opportunities it brings for the business environment and for society at large.” — Stela Lupushor, chief reframer, Reframe.Work Inc.
“A comprehensive and fast-paced tour through the past, present and future of our rapidly Super Ageing Societies, written by one of the leading proponents in the space.” — Stephen Johnston, co-founder, Aging2.0