Demographic Studies The UN Doesn’t Want You To Know: Population Collapse
Amid the deluge of dire predictions that the human population will rise exponentially, deplete the earth’s resources, and overheat the planet, two recent demographic studies predict the opposite—that the number of people will peak within the next several decades and then begin a phase of steady, irreversible decline.
- In some places, including Japan, Russia, South Korea, and most countries in Europe, that population collapse has already begun. China is not far behind.
- A study published in the Lancet predicts that the global human population will peak at 9.7 billion within several decades, and then start to decline. “Once global population decline begins,” the authors write, “it will probably continue inexorably.”
- The Lancet study projects that by the end of this century, China will have shrunk by 668 million people, losing almost half of its current population.
- For a country to sustain its population, women must have an average birth rate of 2.1 children. Once a country’s fertility rate falls below 2.1, it never comes back.
- Current US fertility rate is 1.6 (immigration can help but won’t make a difference in the long run).
- Europe’s average fertility rate is 1.5.
- Russia’s fertility rate is 1.6. Deaths substantially outnumber births in Russia today, and it is projected to lose up to one-third of its population by 2050.
- Japan’s fertility rate is currently 1.3.
- China’s fertility rate ranges from 1.3 to 1.5, depending on the source, but some estimates put it as low as 1.15.
Demographers say there are several causes of declining fertility rates, but they point to one factor that seems to be driving the rest: urbanization. When people move from the countryside to cities, the economics of having children shifts.
According to the “Empty Planet” authors, fewer than a third of the world’s people lived in cities in 1960. Today, just over half of the world’s population are urban dwellers; by 2050, that number is expected to increase to more than two-thirds.
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