Kathleen MogelgaardStatement by Kathleen Mogelgaard (Washington DC)Friday, November 11, 2022Inter Press Service
WASHINGTON DC, Nov 11 (IPS) – The world population will reach 8 billion just 11 years after reaching 7 billion. The official day of 8 billion is observed by the UN on November 15th, although it is difficult to pinpoint exactly when we will reach the actual milestone.
With hashtags like #8billionstrong, the discourse on adding another billion people to the world’s population seems to have had a positive spin since 2011. Some economists and experts argue that population growth (or “abundance,” as a new book puts it) is a good thing for business and innovation.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres called it “an opportunity to celebrate diversity and progress”. The Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr. Natalia Kanem said, “People are the solution, not the problem… A resilient world of 8 billion…offers endless possibilities.” But it’s more complicated than that.
While hitting 8 billion doesn’t mean we’re destined to add a billion more people to the population every decade — UN projections suggest population growth will level off later this century — continued population growth isn’t without it Challenges.
Optimistic media outlets embracing the 8 billion milestone tend to gloss over how continued growth could adversely affect people and the planet, including climate and environment, food security, water, health, civil war, refugees, displacement and increasing global Inequality.
Kathleen Mogelgaard To get a more complete picture of how this might play out, it is important to keep six basic points in mind: 1. Global population growth will continue, but it is slowing. We are currently adding about 70 million people to the population each year (about 0.9 percent). ). According to their medium growth scenario, the UN will reach 9.7 billion by 2050. By then, annual growth is said to have slowed to about 40 million per year (less than 0.5 percent). It is projected to level off in the 2080s, with the population reaching 10.4 billion and then remaining stable until 2100. 2. No, Covid is not a major factor will have a major impact on global population trends this century. While many people have died sooner than usual from Covid, this effect is just a small dot on the screen – it will not significantly alter long-term global mortality and life expectancy. And despite last year’s rumors of a Covid baby boom, this year UN demographers found that the impact of Covid on longer-term fertility rates (the number of births per woman of childbearing age) is mixed and highly uncertain.
3. The growth will not be even; some places will experience much more than others Demographically, the world is becoming increasingly polarized. In some countries, especially the wealthier ones, population growth rates are already low and will fall quickly. According to UN forecasts, more than 30 countries in Europe and parts of Asia will reach an average age of 46 years or older by 2040. This would lead to a further decline in birth rates. Future population growth will increasingly focus on other countries with higher fertility rates and younger age structures. The UN projects in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia will maintain their young population in 2040 as more than half of their population will be under the age of 25.
This will lead to higher population growth in certain areas, such as Africa’s Sahel, the Philippines and among marginalized communities around the world. This is a deep question of justice. Younger age structures, higher birth rates and faster population growth are having a profound impact on societies, economies and governments, limiting their ability to meet people’s needs. 4. Preterm infants increase fertility rates Average family size is shrinking globally, but in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, life fertility rates have stalled or are declining very slowly, suggesting larger families. In many places this is a function of early birth. For example, in Niger, where the average lifetime fertility rate is about seven births per woman, more than three quarters of girls are married before the age of 18. In sub-Saharan Africa, more than 10% of adolescent women give birth each year. 5. Youthful age structures will drive growth in the first half of this century A “youth surplus”, or a large proportion of young people in a national population, is creating a dynamic today that by 2050 the number of people of child-bearing age is all but guaranteed to grow. UN demographers predict that this will account for about two-thirds of global population growth over the next two decades. 6. Projections are not predictions None of this is set in stone. UN projections fail to account for many variables that could affect the population growth curve, from wealth to warfare. What governments and the international donor community invest in can change variables that could profoundly affect outcomes. Suppose they focus on countries and regions with high population growth and invest in programs that help girls stay in school, provide better access to family planning services, and help women exercise their rights and reproductive autonomy.
Not only are these important goals important in and of themselves, we also know from experience that they encourage delayed births, smaller families and lower fertility rates, which would drive down population growth.
Population growth alone does not determine whether we can achieve a sustainable future. But it will be an essential factor that we can positively influence. In this sense, exceeding the 8 billion mark is an opportunity. It is a chance to complete the work of upholding the rights and reproductive autonomy of women and girls and reducing the burdens that faster growth would place on our climate, environment, health, food, water and security .
It highlights the need to shift the disproportionate impact of high growth on poor countries to equity, thereby helping to stabilize some of the world’s most vulnerable places, which in turn strengthens global stability.
If we decide to do these things now, the day of the 8 billion could be cause for celebration.
Kathleen Mogelgaard is President and CEO of the Population Institute. On November 15, she will participate in Toward Peak Population, a free online dialogue on population growth with experts and officials from around the world hosted by Foreign Policy Magazine.
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© Inter Press Service (2022) — All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service
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