Albania's population is shrinking rapidly, births are falling and the population is aging. Population projections are bleak, with the UN projected to reach 1.75 million by 2100.

The data are even sadder when it comes to predicting the median age of the Albanian population at 2100, 53.2 years, the highest in the region. From the country with the youngest population, Albanians will soon be the "elders" of the Western Balkans.

The median age is an important demographic indicator, as it indicates the point where the population is evenly divided, older than that and younger. Moreover, the median age is not only an indicator of how young or how old a country's population is, but also an indicator of population growth.

This means that the Albanian population is aging at the fastest pace in the region, as in the region countries the median age in 2100 is estimated to be under 50 years.

After Albania, projections predict that the highest median age will be Montenegro at 50.3, followed by Bosnia and Herzegovina at 49.8, Serbia and Macedonia at 48.7. While the median age in the world is estimated to be 41.6 by 2100.

50 years ago, Albania had the youngest median population in the region with a median age of 19.6 years, even lower than the world median age of 21.5 years. The median age in Serbia in 1970 was estimated to be 11 years higher than in Albania, at 30.1 years.

The map below shows the distribution of middle ages throughout the world. The median age was 29.6 years in 2015. This means that half of the global population was older than 29.6 years, while half were younger.

Japan had the highest median age of 46.3 years. The youngest median age was in Nigeria of 14.9 years.

In general, we find that higher income countries, such as North America, Europe or East Asia, have a higher average age. Low-income countries tend to have a lower average. This is because they have a younger population: the high fertility rate in all these countries leads them to have a larger population of children and young adolescents. Countries with the lowest average age tend to have higher rates of population growth.

Source: Monitor