The Atlantic Council, in collaboration with Zurich Insurance Group and the Pardee Center for International Futures, released a report today that examines the economic impacts of impending demographic changes. Authored by Mathew Burrows, this groundbreaking report, Reducing the Risks from Rapid Demographic Change forecasts possible future scenarios and asserts that demographics do not have to dictate the future if we take action now.

“The consequences of demographic changes will force all economies to confront imminent challenges,” Barry Pavel, vice president, Arnold Kanter chair, and director of the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, commented. “Managing these risks will be critical to the growth of the global economy and to ensuring the promise of longer and healthier lives.”

Reducing the Risks from Rapid Demographic Change is the second in a series of reports in association with Zurich Insurance Group examining whether global risks are growing faster than global economic growth. The first report, published in September 2015, focused on cyber risks.

“Rapidly changing demographics represent a very real challenge, particularly for global companies faced with managing a diverse set of risks in different parts of the world,” said Paul Horgan, head of Global Corporate in North America for Zurich North America. “The good news is that businesses can help lessen the impact—for example, they can manage pension schemes that take into account extended longevity and offer more flexible work arrangements for employees who wish to remain on the job past traditional retirement age.”

To analyze the potential economic costs and benefits from changing demographics, the report looks at the discrete challenges facing high-, medium-, and low-income economies. In high-income economies, longer life expectancy combined with an aging workforce has resulted in unsustainable health and pension costs that will continue into the next decade. For low-income economies, persistently high birthrates remain the largest risk to their future economic growth. Middle-income economies are still enjoying the economic benefits from large working age populations, but are at risk of health care and pension costs quickly spiraling out of control as their workers retire.

The full report and recommendations are available online at Interested parties also can follow the discussion of the report on Twitter using #ACforesight.

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About the Atlantic Council

Atlantic Council is a nonpartisan organization that promotes constructive US leadership and engagement in international affairs based on the central role of the Atlantic community in meeting today’s global challenges. For more information, please visit and follow us on Twitter @AtlanticCouncil.

About Zurich

Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich) is a leading multi-line insurer that serves its customers in global and local markets. With about 55,000 employees, it provides a wide range of general insurance and life insurance products and services. Zurich’s customers include individuals, small businesses, and mid-sized and large companies, including multinational corporations, in more than 170 countries. The Group is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, where it was founded in 1872. The holding company, Zurich Insurance Group Ltd (ZURN), is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and has a level I American Depositary Receipt (ZURVY) program, which is traded over-the-counter on OTCQX. Further information about Zurich is available at

In North America, Zurich is a leading commercial property-casualty insurance provider serving the global corporate, large corporate, middle market, specialties and programs sectors through the individual member companies of Zurich in North America, including Zurich American Insurance Company. Life insurance and disability coverage issued in the United States in all states except New York is issued by Zurich American Life Insurance Company, an Illinois domestic life insurance company. In New York, life insurance and disability coverage is issued by Zurich American Life Insurance Company of New York, a New York domestic life insurance company. For more information about the products and services it offers and people Zurich employs around the world go to 2012 marked Zurich’s 100-year anniversary of insuring America and the success of its customers, shareholders and employees.

About the Frederick S. Pardee Center for International Futures

The Frederick S. Pardee Center for International Futures is based at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. The Pardee Center specializes in helping governments, international organizations, and private sector organizations frame uncertainty and think strategically about the future. The Pardee Center focuses on exploring past development trends, understanding the complex inter-relationships that drive development outcomes, and shaping policies that communicate and achieve a clear development strategy. The core tool used to achieve these aims is the International Futures (IFs) forecasting model. For more information, or to download or use the IFs tool online, please visit and follow us on Twitter @PardeeCenterIFs. cyber risks

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