Half the world’s nations have fertility rates below the replacement level of just over two children per woman. Countries across Europe and the Far East are teetering on a demographic cliff, with rates below 1.5. On recent trends, Germany and Italy could see their populations halve within the next 60 years.
The world has hit peak child, says Hans Rosling at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. Peak person cannot be far behind.
Some demographers had predicted peak global population by 2076 but most new estimates project continued world population growth past 2100. However, the population growth is focused in Africa after 2050.
According to the results of the 2017 Revision, the world’s population numbered nearly 7.6 billion as of mid-2017, implying that the world has
added approximately one billion inhabitants over the last twelve years. Sixty per cent of the world’s people live in Asia (4.5 billion), 17 per cent in Africa (1.3 billion), 10 per cent in Europe (742 million), 9 per cent in Latin America and the Caribbean (646 million), and the remaining 6 per cent in Northern America (361 million) and Oceania (41 million). China (1.4 billion) and India (1.3 billion) remain the two most populous countries of the world, comprising 19 and 18 per cent of the global total, respectively.
Elon Musk is concerned about population declines in most of the world.
The world's population is accelerating towards collapse, but few seem to notice or care
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 6, 2017
There have been fertility rebounds in some developed countries. Increases in fertility rates occurred simultaneously with growth in national output. This may suggest The emergence of new positively correlated regularities between TFR (Total Fertility Rate) and economic growth. This reversal of the downward trend in total fertility rates has been dubbed the ‘fertility rebound’, and it usually coincides with economic growth.
The world’s population continues to grow, albeit more slowly than in the recent past. Ten years ago, the global population was growing by 1.24 per cent per year. Today, it is growing by 1.10 per cent per year, yielding an additional 83 million people annually. The world’s population is projected to increase by slightly more than one billion people over the next 13 years, reaching 8.6 billion in 2030, and to increase further to 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion by 2100.
Much of the overall increase in population between now and 2050 is projected to occur either in high-fertility countries, mostly in Africa, or in countries with large populations. From 2017 to 2050, it is expected that half of the world’s population growth will be concentrated in just nine countries: India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, Ethiopia, the United Republic of Tanzania, the United States of America, Uganda and Indonesia (ordered by their expected contribution to total growth).
The new projections include some notable findings at the country level. For example, in roughly seven years, the population of India is expected to surpass that of China. Currently, the population of China is approximately 1.41 billion compared with 1.34 billion in India. In 2024, both countries are expected to have roughly 1.44 billion people. Thereafter, India’s population is projected to continue growing for several decades to around 1.5 billion in 2030 and approaching 1.66 billion in 2050, while the population of China is expected to remain stable until the 2030s, after which it may begin a slow decline.
According to the medium variant of the 2017 Revision, global fertility is projected to fall from just over 2.5 births per woman in 2010-2015 to around 2.4 in 2025-2030 and 2.0 in 2095-2100. Steep reductions are projected for the group of least developed countries, which currently has a relatively high average level of fertility, estimated at 4.3 births per woman in 2010-2015, and projected to fall to around 3.5 in 2025-2030 and 2.1 in 2095-2100. However, for countries with high levels of fertility, there is significant uncertainty in projections of future trends, even within the 15-year horizon of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and more so for the projections to 2100. Fertility declines that are slower than projected would result in higher population totals in all subsequent time periods.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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