Old world – Inside the 27 January Guardian Weekly

It’s an age-old question: how should nations around the world adjust to their elderly societies? Japan has faced such realities for a while now, but the challenges are becoming increasingly common across the developed world where families are getting smaller, and people are living longer.

Even India – which will soon overtake China as the world’s most populous country – is now seeing an older demographic become more prevalent in some states. The countries of sub-Saharan Africa, meanwhile, look most likely to enjoy the benefits of a younger population as the century progresses. For the Guardian Weekly magazine’s big story this week, Emma Graham-Harrison and Justin McCurry assess what ageing populations hold in store for the world. And Verna Yu reports on the reasons why many young people in China seem reluctant to start families.

Of related interest, don’t miss Tania Branigan’s fantastic long read on China’s Cultural Revolution, how it scarred and shaped a nation – and why some of those who survived it now look back on the era with a kind of affection.

Jacinda Ardern’s resignation as New Zealand’s prime minister last week shocked the world of progressive politics. Our Aotearoa New Zealand correspondent Tess McClure reflects on Ardern’s groundbreaking leadership and why she felt the time was right to step aside.

If you’ve been feeling like work has been getting the better of you lately, turn to Richard Godwin’s thoughtful piece on whether the four-day working week – a long-mooted solution to balancing out our lives – may finally be coming of age, and what more time for ourselves might mean in practice.

And, as another vivid illustration of how we might rethink the old norms, architecture critic Oliver Wainwright visited Madrid to check out one of the most inventive schools ever built, with beady bubble windows – a living skin for insects – and a rainforest in the middle.

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