The Lancet has published a study on birth rates world wide, concluding that all nations will see reductions in population over the next eighty years. Like we didn’t know that already.
Our findings suggest that continued trends in female educational attainment and access to contraception will hasten declines in fertility and slow population growth. A sustained TFR lower than the replacement level in many countries, including China and India, would have economic, social, environmental, and geopolitical consequences. Policy options to adapt to continued low fertility, while sustaining and enhancing female reproductive health, will be crucial in the years to come
[. . .]
Global population is likely to peak well before the end of the century. Given that we forecasted that societies tend towards a TFR lower than 1·5, once global population decline begins, it will probably continue inexorably. Within the declining total world population some countries will sustain their populations through liberal immigration policies and social policies more supportive of females working and achieving their desired family size. These countries are likely to have larger overall GDP than other countries, with the various economic, social, and geopolitical benefits that come with stable working-age populations.
The notion that it is a “problem” reeks of a boomer and corporatist capitalist whine: “Who is going to fund my pension? Work cheap and pay massive taxes so I don’t have to?” We should be praising Millennials and Zoomers for being environmentally, socially and fiscally aware instead of attacking them for not breeding. Voluntary population reduction is a lot less painful than starvation, war, and environmental collapse. You can’t fault people for saying, “I can’t afford a kid, so I won’t have any.”
The other boomer/capitalist whine is, “Who is going to pay to fix everything?” How about you lot? Let’s tax all wealth over $50 million at 50%, 40% from $20-50 million. Capitalism is NOT more important than survival of the planet or species. You can’t eat or breathe dollars, no matter how rich you are.
A “writer” at the BBC has an equally capitalist-based take on it, below the fold.
The world is ill-prepared for the global crash in children being born which is set to have a “jaw-dropping” impact on societies, say researchers.
Falling fertility rates mean nearly every country could have shrinking populations by the end of the century.
And 23 nations – including Spain and Japan – are expected to see their populations halve by 2100.
Countries will also age dramatically, with as many people turning 80 as there are being born.
[. . .]
As a result, the researchers expect the number of people on the planet to peak at 9.7 billion around 2064, before falling down to 8.8 billion by the end of the century.
And how is this a problem? Even if we haven’t reached peak oil or peak phosphorus, food shortages are inevitable. The only way to prevent mass starvation is having fewer mouths to feed. Birth control is far more humane and less prone to causing war than starvation and genocide.
Why are fertility rates falling?
It has nothing to do with sperm counts or the usual things that come to mind when discussing fertility.
Instead it is being driven by more women in education and work, as well as greater access to contraception, leading to women choosing to have fewer children.
In many ways, falling fertility rates are a success story.
Yes, a success of education and self-determination for women. Small wonder men oppose it, women who have to bear and raise children are easier to control.
Why is this a problem?
You might think this is great for the environment. A smaller population would reduce carbon emissions as well as deforestation for farmland.
“That would be true except for the inverted age structure (more old people than young people) and all the uniformly negative consequences of an inverted age structure,” says Prof Murray.
The “writer” makes the false assumption that human population can grow without limit, that the pyramid scheme that is “the economy” can grow infinitely.
Wrong. At some point in every pyramid scheme, there comes a crash. Voluntary reduction in birth rates is the least painful way. There’s no environmental collapse and no starvation, which also means more resources to care for an aging population. Once they’re gone by old age, the problem is solved.
PopulationPyramid.net shows the population distribution by age for countries and continents. Countries are at very different extremes, such as Haiti (80% under age 40) or Japan (an inverted pyramid and aging population). The most extreme has to be Cambodia, where you can see the effect of the Khmer Rouge’s mass murder of their populace in the 1970s. And, predictably, Taiwan is not listed or lumped in with the PRC. It’s not listed as the Republic of China, ROC, Chinese Taipei, nor any other common pseudonym. Taiwan’s population pyramid is very similar to Japan, with a birth rate below the death rate.