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The world’s population may decline in the next few decades

This week, The Lancet published a study that forecasted a decline in the world’s population over the next century.

It explained that the numbers would be affected by fertility, mortality and migration rates, as well as wider access to reproductive education and contraception.

Population

A study was released this week that found the world’s population size would decline by 2100.

This expected outcome would be the first global population decline since the Black Plague in the 14th century. It predicted that the global population would peak in 2064 at 9.73 billion people before declining to 8.79 billion in 2100.

It also found that 23 countries, including Japan, Spain, and Italy would have their populations halved, whilst North Africa, the Middle East and the Sub Saharan Africa could expect to have theirs tripled from 1.03 billion in 2017 to 3.07 billion in 2100. It also revealed that there would be 2.4 billion people over the age of 65, compared to 1.7 billion people under the age of 20.

These numbers pose advantages and disadvantages. A population decline would ease the predicted strains on natural resources, but economic growth and geopolitical security may be significant concerns.

One of the authors on the paper, Vollset explained that “while population decline is potentially good news for reducing carbon emissions and stress on food system, with more old people and fewer young people, economic challenges will arise as societies struggle to grow with fewer workers and taxpayers, and countries’ abilities to generate the wealth needed to fund social support and healthcare for the elderly are reduced.”

We can’t know for sure if this will be the case, but the study begs the question: what can and should our governments do to combat the future problems of our world.