For the first time in centuries, the world’s population is expected to decline in just a few decades.
Currently, there are around 7.8 billion people across the globe, and this number is set to peak in 2064, but based on a new study published in The Lancet, this peak will be at roughly 9.7 billion and will drop to 8.8 billion by 2100.
The lead study author and Professor of Global Health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), Stein Emil Vollset shared: ‘The last time that global population declined was in the mid 14th century, due to the Black Plague’.
‘If our forecast is correct, it will be the first time population decline is driven by fertility decline, as opposed to events such as a pandemic or famine’.
Basically, the population of up to 23 counties could shrink by over 50 percent, including countries like Japan, Thailand, Italy, Spain, Portugal, South Korea, and China.
Vollset went on to explain: ‘There are two key factors: improvements in access to modern contraception and the education of girls and women. These factors drive the fertility rate – the average number of children a woman delivers over her lifetime which is the largest determinant of population’.
‘The global total fertility rate is predicted to steadily decline, from 2.37 in 2017 to 1.66 in 2100, well below the minimum rate (2.1 live births per woman) considered necessary to maintain population numbers.’, he added.
Dr Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of the Lancet, also weighed in, sharing: ‘Africa and the Arab World will shape our future, while Europe and Asia will recede in their influence. By the end of the century, the world will be multipolar, with India, Nigeria, China, and the US the dominant powers. This will truly be a new world, one we should be preparing for today.’
Professor Ibrahim Abubakar, University College London (UCL), added: ‘Ultimately, if [the new] predictions are even half accurate, migration will become a necessity for all nations and not an option. The positive impacts of migration on health and economies are known globally.’.