World's population set to decline for first time in modern history 6 months ago

World's population set to decline for first time in modern history

The current world population is 7.9 billion

The world's population will begin to fall for the first time ever in the next century, with the peak expected to be 9.7 billion.


You'd need only to stand in a Starbucks line to realise how crowded the world is. With 7.9 billion of us scurrying around on mother Earth, there will surely come a time where that number begins to decline.

Earth Via Unsplash

A study published at Lancet suggests that the global populous will peak at 9.7 billion in the year 2064 and then drop to 8.8 billion by 2100.

The paper's lead author, Stein Emil Vollset, told IFLScience: "The last time that global population declined was in the mid 14th century, due to the Black Plague.

"If our forecast is correct, it will be the first time population decline is driven by fertility decline, as opposed to events such as a pandemic or famine."

23 countries, including Japan, Italy, Thailand, Spain, Portugal and South Korea, could very well see their population shrink more than 50 per cent.


In China, their current population of 1.4 billion could fall to 732 million by 2100.

"There are two key factors: improvements in access to modern contraception and the education of girls and women," explained Vollset.

"These factors drive the fertility rate – the average number of children a woman delivers over her lifetime, which is the largest determinant of population."

While we focus on the environmental crisis and virus control, the real problem could be the fertility rate. By 2100, the global fertility rate could fall to 1.66 from 2.37, which is well below the minimum rate needed to maintain population numbers.


"Africa and the Arab World will shape our future, while Europe and Asia will recede in their influence," Lancet Editor Dr Richard Horton said in a statement.

"By the end of the century, the world will be multipolar, with India, Nigeria, China and the US the dominant powers.

"This will truly be a new world, one we should be preparing for today."

Professor Ibrahim Abubakar also said that migration will no longer be an option and will be mandatory for the survival of the human race.

He added: "The positive impacts of migration on health and economies are known globally.


"The choice that we face is whether we improve health and wealth by allowing planned population movement or if we end up with an underclass of imported labour and unstable societies."

Looks like we can add the fertility marble to the growing list of issues the planet faces.

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