The overall global fertility rate is declining rapidly, as a new study says the world population will peak by 2064 and at least 23 countries will see their populations shrink by more than half of their current levels.
For decades we’ve heard the cry predicting the havoc that accelerating overpopulation was going to wreak on the world: Water shortages, famines, energy shortages, as well as blaming overpopulation for accelerating global warming to name a few of the dire forecasts.
But recently, the predictions have been headed in the opposite direction: A massive decrease in population.
But a new study published in the journal The Lancet this week contrasted the UN findings, predicting that the global population will peak some four decades earlier by 2064 and at least 23 countries we’ll see their populations decrease to less than half of their current levels.
According to the report, some of the countries expected to see their populations reduced over 50 percent are Japan, Thailand, South Korea, Italy, Portugal, and Spain, the BBC reported.
The two most populous countries in the world, China and India, are also expected to see significant population decreases that could weaken their global economic power. In fact, China is expected to reach its peak at 1.4 billion people in four years from now, then see its population fall to almost half at 732 million by 2100. At that time, it will be supplanted by India as the world’s most populated nation.
Countries such as the United States, Australia, and Canada have fertility rates that are lower than the amount needed to replace the population, according to the study.
Replacing the previous list of disasters that overpopulation was going to bring, now, there is a list of doom and gloom that will be caused by under-population.
Why has a potential population decrease suddenly turned to a doom and gloom scenario?
Experts say a population decrease would have been a good thing except for the fact that fewer births will mean fewer young people and more old people.
For example, according to the study: In 2017 the number of people under the age of five or 681 million. By 2100, that number will drop to 401 million. Conversely, in 2017 the number of eighty-year-olds was 141 million. By 2100, that number will increase to 866 million – an increase of 514%.
Having a population dominated by the elderly means fewer workers. In turn, that’s fewer people paying taxes, and thus, pain healthcare for the elderly. Plus, there are fewer people to care for the elderly.
Overall, without the ability for a country to sustain its population, the expected result is a decline in economic growth.
The study said that immigration could help countries that are seeing the highest population drops be able to maintain their population and support economic growth. The experts are warning that countries such as the United States, which currently has a strong stance against liberal immigration, could be a roadblock in the nation’s ability to sustain its economic status.