The coming baby bust in India

Source: Wikipedia via Marginal Revolution.

India, with an estimated population just below 1.4 billion, now has a fertility rate just below the replacement rate, with is 2.1 children per woman.  This means India’s population will peak and then decline.

The USA, Europe, Russia, China, Japan and many other countries also have a fertility rate below the replacement rate.

Most demographers think this is an inevitable trend, whenever (1) birth control is widely available, (2) women can choose to limit child-bearing and have other careers besides motherhood and (3) material living standards rise to a point where husbands and wive can have old-age security without a large number of children to support them.

Overall this is a good thing.  It means the threat of the population bomb—population rising exponentially until mass starvation occurs—is not inevitable.  

The new threat is an economic system based on ever-increasing consumption while food and energy resources are being disrupted and exhausted.  

Meanwhile we have proportionately fewer and fewer working-age people to support people too old to work.

Then, too, there are parts of the world where the demographic transition hasn’t yet taken hold—mainly in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Latin America and the Muslim world.

The varying rates at which the demographic transition means that rich, aging, shrinking nations will share a world with poor, relatively young, growing nations.  This will not be an easy challenge.

LINKS

Why India Is Making Progress in Slowing Its Population Growth by Vaishnavi Chandraskekar for Yale Environment 360.

The Astonishing Drop in Global Fertility Rates Between 1970 and 2014 by Ian Wright for Brilliant Maps.

List of sovereign states and dependences by total fertility rates on Wikipedia.

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One Response to “The coming baby bust in India”

  1. Fred (Au Natural) Says:

    Hopefully, India’s population will slow gradually and not fall off a cliff. China has a real problem. Their population is expected to drop by 50% sometime between 2070 and 2050 and there is an imbalance in favor of males of 5-20%, depending on which province you’re looking at. I don’t know how a state copes with that.

    Russia, most of East Asia, and Europe also have very low fertility rates. Outside Africa and some parts of the mid-east, most of the world no longer has high population growth. Even Brazil is shrinking. Demographic collapse in the US is prevented by immigration. Europe may be able to do the same thing. if they can work out the cultural issues.

    Nobody wants to immigrate to Russia or China. They are screwed.

    Like

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