Moreover, that imagined collapse of the world’s population is not the biggest problem facing the world, nor is that false idea a much greater risk to civilization than climate change, which is certainly humanity’s greatest challenge.
According to recent forecasts, the world population is expected to continue to grow in the coming decades. Hundreds of millions of people are expected to be added to the planet, but at a slower rate than in the recent past.
The expected slowdown in world population growth is not a problem. The global demographic slowdown clearly points to social, economic, environmental and climatic successes and benefits for human life on planet Earth.
Many of those advocating higher population growth through higher birth rates and more immigration are simply promoting the Ponzi demographic. The underlying strategy of Ponzi’s demographics is to privatize profits and socialize the costs of increased population growth.
The world population reached the milestone of 1 billion in 1804. The world population doubled to 2 billion in 1927, doubled again to 4 billion in 1974, and then doubled a third time to 8 billion by 2022 (Figure 1).
Over the many centuries of human history, the 20th century has been an exceptional record-breaking period demographically.
The world’s population has nearly quadrupled from 1.6 billion in 1900 to 6.1 billion by the end of the century. In addition, the annual growth of the world population peaked at 2.3 percent in 1963, and the annual increase reached a record high of 93 million in 1990.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, the world population has increased by almost 2 billion people, from 6.1 billion in 2000 to 8 billion in 2022. During that period, the annual world population growth has decreased from 1.3 percent to 0.8 percent, with the annual demographic increase of the world going from 82 million to 67 million today.
While mortality continues to play an important role in global population growth, as recently demonstrated with the COVID-19 pandemic, fertility is expected to be the main determinant of the future size of the world’s population.
The world’s average fertility rate of about 2.3 births per woman in 2020 is less than half the average fertility rate in the 1950s and 1960s.
The United Nations average population forecast assumes that fertility rates will continue to decline. By the end of the century, the total fertility rate is expected to drop to a global average of 1.8 births per woman, which is a third of the rate in the early 1960s and well below the fertility replacement rate.
The projection of the medium variant results in a growing world population reaching 9 billion in 2037, 10 billion in 2058 and 10.3 billion by 2100.
Alternative population projections include the high and low variants, which assume approximately half a child above and below the medium variant, respectively. Accordingly, by 2100 the world population will be substantially larger in the high variant at 14.8 billion and significantly smaller in the low variant at 7.0 billion (Figure 2).
Another alternative population projection, which is unlikely but instructive, is the constant variant. That projection variant assumes that countries’ current fertility rates will remain unchanged or constant at their current levels for the rest of the 21st century. The constant variant results in a projected world population at the end of the century that is more than double its current size, 19.2 versus 8.0 billion.
Although the world population is expected to continue to grow in the coming decades, there is considerable diversity in the future population growth of countries.
The populations of some 50 countries, including China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, South Korea and Spain, are expected to decline in size by the middle of the century due to low fertility rates. At the same time, the populations of about two dozen other countries, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Niger, Somalia and Sudan, are expected to increase significantly due to their relatively high fertility rates.
A comparison of population growth according to the medium variant for the four expected largest countries by the middle of the century, namely China, India, Nigeria and the United States, shows the diversity of population growth expected in the 21st century.
The current population size of China is estimated to be about 1.4 billion. Due to the fertility rate of 1.16 births per woman, which is nearly half the replacement rate and is believed to remain relatively low in the coming decades, China’s population is projected to fall to 1.3 billion by 2050 and decline further until 0.8 billion by 2050. 2100.
In contrast, the Indian population, with an estimated fertility rate of 2.0 births per woman, which is expected to decline further, continues to grow in size. As a result of that demographic growth, India’s population is likely to overtake the Chinese population by 2023. By 2060, India’s population is expected to peak at 1.7 billion and decline to 1.5 billion by 2100 (Figure 3).
The population of the United States, currently the third largest in the world after China and India, is expected to continue to grow in size, largely due to immigration. By 2050, the population of the US is expected to reach 375 million and close to 400 million by the end of the century.
Nigeria’s burgeoning population, which has more than doubled in the past 30 years from 100 million in 1992 to 219 million in 2022, is expected to continue its rapid demographic growth for the rest of the century. The population of Nigeria is projected to exceed the US population by 2050, when it reaches 377 million, then increase to 500 million by 2077 and 546 million by the end of the century.
Admittedly, the future size of the world’s population remains uncertain. Demographic conditions, especially death rates as recently observed in the COVID-19 pandemic, could change significantly and future fertility rates could also follow different patterns than assumed in the most recent population projections.
Nevertheless, it seems that the current world population of 8 billion people will continue to grow in the coming decades, with an additional 2 billion likely by the middle of the century.
The projected demographic growth of the world’s population of 8 billion in the 21st century poses a huge challenge. One of those challenges is the deep concern about food, water and energy supplies, natural resources, biodiversity, pollution, the environment and of course climate change, which most, including scientists of the world, view as humanity’s greatest challenge. considered.
Joseph Chamie is an independent consulting demographer, former director of the United Nations Population Division, and author of numerous publications on population issues, including his recent book, “Births, Deaths, Migrations and Other Important Population Matters”.”
© Inter Press Service (2022) — All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service