Quite the Crowd
Alina McGregor discusses the apparent change in future population predictions
People used to worry about overpopulation and its consequences- the strain on resources, the wars that would start because of land, resources, and space, etc. The world population is predicted to rise to around 9.7 billion people in 2064. But then, something different is going to happen. It’s predicted to decline to about 8.8 billion by 2100, which is a significant 2 billion lower than some previous estimates. So why is this the case?
The world population is predicted to rise to around 9.7 billion people in 2064
The first thing to understand is that this is not due to one single factor. To name a few, when women started to go further in education, they began to have career goals which put off aspirations of motherhood till later on in life. Moreover, as the infant mortality rate dropped, people started to have fewer children, as more were likely to survive. As contraception- physical and hormonal- became more used due to secularisation, modern medicine and women’s rights, it gave women control over when they had children. Finally, parents stopped relying as much on children to have a secure retirement, which the government and private businesses now take care of. These factors have mainly taken place in wealthier Western countries first.
According to a new study conducted at the University of Washington published in The Lancet, 183 of 195 countries will have total fertility rates below replacement level of 2.1 births per woman. This means that the average number of children a woman successfully gives birth to over her lifetime has declined and will continue to do so.
According to a new study… 183 of 195 countries will have total fertility rates below replacement level
This leads to issues such as there not being enough working people to pay sufficient taxes to support the elderly who worked before them. One way that has been put forward to solve this problem is to accept more young immigrants who come from countries where the total fertility rate is still high, which is typically the case for less developed or third world countries.
Governments are already planning for this event as it means a big potential shift in geopolitical power and a reorganising of culture.