World on track for zero population growth

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Much of the world is on track for zero population growth.  Birth rates in many countries are at the replacement rate of 2.1 children per average couple, or lower.

brazila01gra1The change, in my opinion, has come about because (1) knowledge and availability of birth control are widely available, (2) women are emancipated and have control over their bodies and (3) people are raised far enough out of absolute poverty that they think it is better to have a small number of prosperous, well-educated children than to have many children.

I think that, in the long run, Muslims and Hindus will be as willing to practice contraception as Catholics have proved to be.

GreenRedPopChartSmThere are certain problems associated with zero population growth that we the people need to think about.

One is that there will be relatively fewer adults in the prime working years compared to elderly retirees (such as myself).

The American solution to this has been immigration, but this generates its own problems.   The United States has limited resources, including water supply, and can’t absorb large-scale immigration indefinitely.

image-279208-galleryV9-sgexOf course if people had better lives in their own countries, they wouldn’t be so desperate to get into the USA at all costs.   That’s also true of the Africans trying to get into Europe.

The projections and forecasts by the United Nations and others are possibilities, not certainties.   And even if the predictions and forecasts are correct, the world’s population will become larger than it is now before it levels off.   But, based on past experience, I don’t see this as cause for despair.   There are grounds for hope.

LINKS

The Great Contraction: Experts Predict Global Population Will Plateau by the staff of Der Spiegel

World population may actually start declining, not exploding by Jeff Wise for Slate.

Human population growth and the demographic transition by John Bongaarts for Transactions of the Royal Society of the Biological Sciences.

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2 Responses to “World on track for zero population growth”

  1. John Pennington Says:

    Wow. This is welcome news to me. Last I read, population was still going up by 2100. There would be problems with a declining population, but they would be small by comparison to the mess we’re in now. One calculation said Earth could sustainably support about one billion people.

    Like

    • philebersole Says:

      Well, keep in mind that it takes a long while for a decline in the birth rate to be reflected in the rate of growth in population.

      If present trends continue, there still will be a lot more people in the world in 2100 than there are now, but population won’t be doubling every so many years, as so many people once feared.

      Like

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