World Population Growth or Decline?
The UN thinks there will be almost 11 billion of us in 2100. But other professional demographers are not so sure (sorry, one key story is behind a paywall, but the chart below summarises the conclusions). They say the game is over on population growth because the world’s fertility rate will fall to replacement levels in about 10 years, and decrease from there. The smart money is on an 8 billion world population by 2100, and that is a huge difference.
One consequence is that ‘per person’ output will be very much higher, giving the potential for continued growth in living standards.
In our view, global fertility will fall to the replacement rate in less than fifteen years. Population may keep growing for a few more decades from rising longevity but, reproductively speaking, our species will no longer be expanding. We forecast that world population will peak at around 8.7 bln in 2055 and will then decline to 8bn by 2100. Thus, world population could peak half a century sooner and, by 2100, stand 2.8bn below what the UN currently predicts.
Developed countries have long had low birth rates but the largest declines in fertility are in developing countries with the Chinese, Russians, Koreans and Brazilians no longer replacing themselves. A large decline in the Chinese workforce is now unavoidable irrespective of the removal of the one-child policy. Due to a skewed gender ratio, we found that China no longer has enough child-bearing age women to stabilize its population.