A new study published in the Lancet magazine reveals that, for the first time in centuries, the world’s population will decrease in the coming decades.
The last time the world’s population declined was in the mid-14th century, due to the “Black Death”.
There are currently around 7.8 billion people in the world. Experts estimate that the world’s population will peak at around 9.7 billion in 2064, before dropping steadily to 8.79 billion in 2100.
Up to 23 countries, including Japan, Thailand, Italy, Spain, Portugal and South Korea, could see their populations reduced by 50% due to low birth rates and aging populations. .
Even China, the world’s most populous country and a nation often associated with skyrocketing population growth, is expected to grow from 1.4 billion people to 732 million by 2100.
The last time the world’s population declined was in the mid-14th century, due to the Black Death. If our predictions are correct, this will be the first time the population decline has been due to a decline in fertility, as opposed to events like a pandemic or famine.
Stein Emil Vollset, study lead author and professor of global health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME)
However, some countries are expected to experience population growth.
North Africa, the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa are estimated to triple their population, from 1.03 billion in 2017 to 3.07 billion in 2100.
Africa and the Arab world will mark our future, while Europe and Asia will recede in their influence. By the end of the century, the world will be multipolar, with India, Nigeria, China and the United States as the dominant powers.
Stein Emil Volset.
Vollset attributes the population decline to two key factors: Improved access to modern contraception and education for girls and women.
These factors determine the fertility rate – the average number of children a woman gives birth to over her lifetime – which is the greatest determinant of population. The global fertility rate is expected to decline steadily, from 2.37 in 2017 to 1.66 in 2100, well below the minimum rate (2.1 live births per woman) deemed necessary to sustain the population.
Stein Emil Volset.
A few days ago, Elon Musk shared similar sentiments during the Wall Street Journal’s annual CEO Council.
I believe that one of the greatest risks to civilization is the low birth rate and the rapid decline in the birth rate. And yet many people, even smart people, think there are too many people in the world and believe that the population is growing out of control. It’s totally the opposite. Please look at the numbers: if people have no more children, civilization will collapse, believe me.
More information: www.thelancet.com (text in English).