- Documents and publications
Global trends 2040: A more contested world
This report constructs its analysis of the future in several stages. First, it examines structural forces in demographics, environment, economics, and technology that shape the contours of our future world. Second, it analyzes how these structural forces and other factors—combined with human responses—affect emerging dynamics in societies, states, and the international system. Third, it envisions five plausible scenarios for the distant future in 2040.
It discusses the following:
- Environmental events are likely to have a greater human impact on newly urbanizing regions where dense populations are located on coasts and in other vulnerable areas, but protective infrastructure—most importantly flood control and storm-hardy housing—has not kept pace. Booming cities of middle-income East, Southeast, and South Asia, as well as the low-income urban areas of eastern and southern Africa, are already exposed to the highest number of disasters per capita, based on statistics from the Emergency Events Database.
- More than 270 million persons in 2020 were living in a country to which they had migrated, 100 million more than in 2000, representing an increase of more than half a per cent of the global population. Most migrants left their homes to pursue better economic prospects, but tens of millions were fleeing conflict, crime, religious and social repression, and disasters.
- Decreased water, air, and food quality, along with changes in disease vectors and water-borne pathogens, all threaten human life. Death rates from pollution vary significantly across the world—typically highest in middle-income countries in East and South Asia. In addition, extreme weather and disasters often kill people and disrupt health infrastructure and prevent access to care. Climate change is expected to change the geographic range and in some cases frequency of disease outbreaks affecting humans, animals, and plants, including those that are vector-borne (West Nile, malaria, Den-gue), waterborne (cholera), airborne (influenza, hantavirus), and food-borne (salmonella).