Source: United Nations. Statement by Joseph Chamie (Portland, USA)Tuesday, November 8, 2022Inter Press Service
Moreover, this imagined world population collapse is not the world’s greatest problem, nor does this misconception pose a much greater risk to civilization than climate change, which is surely humanity’s greatest challenge.
According to recent forecasts, the world population is expected to continue to increase in the coming decades. Hundreds of millions more people are projected to be added to the planet, but at a slower pace than in the recent past.
The expected slowdown in world population growth is not a problem. The global demographic slowdown clearly signals social, economic, environmental and climatic gains and benefits for human life on planet Earth.
Many of those who advocate increased population growth through higher birth rates and more immigration are simply promoting Ponzi demographics. The underlying strategy of Ponzi demographics is to privatize the gains and socialize the costs associated with increased population growth.
The world population reached the milestone of 1 billion in 1804. World population doubled to 2 billion in 1927, doubled again to 4 billion in 1974, and then doubled a third time to 8 billion in 2022 (Figure 1).
Source: United Nations.
In the course of the many centuries of human history, the 20th century was an exceptionally record time in demographic terms.
The world population has almost quadrupled from 1.6 billion in 1900 to 6.1 billion by the end of the century. In addition, the annual growth rate of 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 grown by almost 2 billion people, from 6.1 billion in 2000 to 8 billion in 2022. During this period, the annual growth rate of the world population went from 1.3 percent to 0.8 percent return. with the world’s annual demographic increasing from 82 million to 67 million today.
While mortality continues to play an important role in global population growth, as seen recently with the COVID-19 pandemic, fertility is projected to be the most important determinant of future global population size.
The world 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 medium variant of the United Nations population projection assumes that fertility rates will continue to fall. By the end of the century, the total fertility rate is expected to fall to a global average of 1.8 births per woman, which is a third of the rate in the early 1960s and well below fertility replacement levels.
The middle variant projection leads to an increasing world population, which will reach 9 billion by 2037, 10 billion by 2058 and 10.3 billion by 2100.
Alternative population projections include the high and low variants, which assume about half a child above and below the medium variant, respectively. Accordingly, the world population by 2100 is much larger in the high variant at 14.8 billion and much smaller in the low variant at 7.0 billion (Figure 2).
Source: United Nations.
Another alternative population projection that is unlikely but revealing is the constant variant. This projection variant assumes that countries’ current fertility rates will remain unchanged or constant at their current levels through the end of the 21st century. The constant variant results in a projected world population by the end of the century more than double today’s, 19.2 versus 8.0 billion.
Although world population is expected to continue to increase in the coming decades, there is considerable diversity in countries’ future population growth rates.
The populations of around 50 countries, including China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, South Korea and Spain, are expected to shrink by mid-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 comparatively high fertility rates.
A comparison of the population growth according to the middle variant for the four expected largest countries by mid-century, i.e. China, India, Nigeria and the United States, illustrates the diversity of the expected population growth in the 21st century.
China’s current population is estimated to be around 1.4 billion at its peak. With a fertility rate of 1.16 births per woman, which is almost half the replacement level and projected to remain relatively low in the coming decades, China’s population is projected to decline to 1.3 billion by 2050 and 0.8 billion by 2050 2100
In contrast, India’s population continues to grow, with an estimated fertility rate of 2.0 births per woman, which is expected to continue falling. As a result of this demographic growth, India’s population is likely to overtake China’s population by 2023. India’s population is projected to peak at 1.7 billion by 2060 and decline to 1.5 billion by 2100 (Figure 3).
Source: United Nations.
The population of the United States, currently the world’s third largest population after China and India, is expected to continue to increase, largely due to immigration. By 2050, the US population is projected to reach 375 million and nearly 400 million by the end of the century.
Nigeria’s fast-growing 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. Nigeria’s population is projected to exceed the US population by 2050 when it reaches 377 million, and then increase to 500 million in 2077 and 546 million by the end of the century.
However, the future size of the world population remains uncertain. Demographic conditions, in particular mortality rates as recently observed in the COVID-19 pandemic, could change significantly, and future birth rates may also follow different patterns than assumed in the most recent population projections.
Nonetheless, it appears that the current world population of 8 billion will continue to increase in the coming decades, and is likely to be joined by another 2 billion people by around mid-century.
The expected demographic growth of the world population of 8 billion in the 21st century presents us with enormous challenges. Chief among these challenges are concerns about food, water and energy supplies, natural resources, biodiversity, pollution, the environment and of course climate change, which is considered by most, including the world’s scientists, to be the greatest challenge facing humanity.
Joseph Chamie is an independent consulting demographer, former director of the United Nations Population Division and the 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
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