Is the World’s Population About to Begin Falling?

The problem with projecting birth rates into the future is the assumption that the current trend, up or down, will continue into the future. And while there are ways to predict the likely trend into the future, those predictions depend on assumptions that can be fallible.

The conventional progressive narrative that we have been subjected to endlessly is that without population control, the world will become overpopulated and everyone will be eating weeds to stay alive. Or people. The reality is more complicated. World hunger is usually localized to broken societies. Countries where starvation is a serious problem usually have corrupt repressive governments or no governments at all, just bands of warlords. India is one of the few countries where the size of the population, rather than the political and social system is responsible for food shortages.

Overall birth rates have been falling, most aggressively in the developed world, but also around the world as well. As Slate notes. (via Instapundit)

It took humankind 13 years to add its 7 billionth. That’s longer than the 12 years it took to add the 6 billionth—the first time in human history that interval had grown. (The 2 billionth, 3 billionth, 4 billionth, and 5 billionth took 123, 33, 14, and 13 years, respectively.) In other words, the rate of global population growth has slowed. And it’s expected to keep slowing. Indeed, according to experts’ best estimates, the total population of Earth will stop growing within the lifespan of people alive today.

But both those advantages look to diminish in years to come. A report issued last month by the Pew Research Center found that immigrant births fell from 102 per 1,000 women in 2007 to 87.8 per 1,000 in 2012. That helped bring the overall U.S. birthrate to a mere 64 per 1,000 women—not enough to sustain our current population.

Moreover, the poor, highly fertile countries that once churned out immigrants by the boatload are now experiencing birthrate declines of their own. From 1960 to 2009, Mexico’s fertility rate tumbled from 7.3 live births per woman to 2.4, India’s dropped from six to 2.5, and Brazil’s fell from 6.15 to 1.9. Even in sub-Saharan Africa, where the average birthrate remains a relatively blistering 4.66, fertility is projected to fall below replacement level by the 2070s.

Replacement level doesn’t mean that the birth rate won’t be high, just that it won’t be high enough to match the population. So while immigrant births in the United States have dropped sharply, they still dominate overall birth rates.

Researchers at Austria’s International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis foresee the global population maxing out at 9 billion some time around 2070. On the bright side, the long-dreaded resource shortage may turn out not to be a problem at all.

But that’s because there was never really a resource shortage. The resource shortage is actually a shortage of births in developed countries leading to a surge of immigration which still fails to achieve replacement level once the immigrants have been here for a generation.

Earth has plenty of resources, but it takes new generations to develop those resources and care for older generations. That is where the jam is happening. Medicine has extended lifespans and lowered reproduction rates leading to the implosion of the West and the rise of the Muslim world.

if the world stabilizes at a total fertility rate of 1.5—where Europe is today—then by 2200 the global population will fall to half of what it is today. By 2300, it’ll barely scratch 1 billion

The missing piece of the puzzle is that people don’t stabilize. Europe’s decline opens up rich territories to be colonized by peoples with high birth rates. The colonization process is not too violent right now, aside from the occasion 9/11 or 7/7, but it will become more violent and the end result will be a duplication of the social and political systems of the old country leading to a crash.

Once Europe goes Saudi and women are locked up at home, but there’s no oil to fund subsidies with, there will be a high birth rate and a high death rate, especially among young men, leading to polygamy and a certain brutal kind of population stability.

  • Mary Sue

    And then, all the enviro-whackos at the Sierra Club and Zero Population Growth's efforts will be for naught.

    I wonder how many of them will off themselves if faced suddenly with being part of the Islamist Baby Making Machine.

    • EarlyBird

      You forgot to find some way to include Obama, gun control and black helicopters in this one, Mary Sue.

      • Mary Sue

        Black Helicopters actually exist, so the Joke's on you…

  • EarlyBird

    Yes, famines are far too often created by corrupt and brutal governments or warlords, not populations. And populations shrink when development makes many children unnecessary.

    The next time some lefty whines about globalization, remember that it has taken a massive number of human beings out of grinding poverty. Vietnam comes to mind. A generation ago the average Vietnamese literally spent every waking hour in the rice paddies, hoping to eke out a living. Now they work in factories and offices and have hope, and a stable society – and they are suddenly dropping all their commie nonsense for capitalism.

  • Anon

    There are 2 issues:

    First is the fact that birthrates are falling in the non-Muslim world faster than in the Muslim world. This could be a major long-term problem if Islam is not effectively dealt with.

    Second is that birthrates are falling overall which could lead to world population decline. I view this as a solvable problem and positive in the long term. Yes, we'll have to figure out how to care for a lot of old people. However, mechanization and robotics probably will provide the solutions for a declining workforce.

    The Slate article that Greenfield links to suggests that humanity could die out altogether simply from a disinterest in reproducing. I view this as alarmist. If global population got down to a couple billion, the average person could be much wealthier, and there would be a much greater possibility of humans getting through major droughts etc. without loss of life. And if people who like being parents have more kids than people who don't, the parenting genes and parenting skills will be passed down to more people, so at some point we will have a smaller population of good parents–not a bad idea!

    • Mary Sue

      I find it ironic that "intellectuals" are the ones least interested in breeding. Whether this is because they are Leftists, or there's something else wrong with them, is open for debate. However, they always point out that the 'stupid' breed more, whether because they're stupid (and not 'smart enough' to figure out birth control or some such), or because they *gasp* actually WANT kids and are too stupid to realize that having kids "ruins your life".

  • harrylies

    The Catholic Church is a reason population is falling. Mother Teresa did not serve God wiping a little boys' nose.The Church says children are optional.

    The fewer children, the better. The US is intelligent in having less children.

    If children are good, we should be encouraging fourteen year old girls to have children. We do not.

    • HeRoss

      so how did you get escape not be aborted? We didn't need you did we? think about it. What if your mother had to make that decision or maybe the state or Obama. He congratulated the leader of the abortion pit crew before an audience. Good work! murder is good business too bad we can't get rid of over 1/2 the prison population murders, huh, without remorse, think of the savings! Then there's the non rehabilitatible (sp?) sex pervertts, they can't be changed, why don't we murder them for a good cause of saving the planet. Heck why stop there, let's go to world war III and everyone jump in their and take your chances on dying like everyone else, who ever is left gets to rule the world but the rules are..even the elite and leaders have to be in front of the battle..evil is good, good is evil thinking we have today…so why didn't you get aborted to save the world of one more mouth to feed..why were you so lucky and still alive? I say this for thought not to cause anger, ever wonder why? Hope we don't start lotteries of who lives and who dies.

  • rosheaq1956

    Can we lessen to major extreme the days of Obama in the White House? How about lessening the pop. of muslims, all extremist? Murders, pedophiles, sexual perversion? If we plan to get rid of all on this planet that are harmful to the human race to live in peace or move them to a planet all their own. All murders to their planet, all muslims to their planet, all pedophiles to their planet, sexual deviates to theirs. I want my own planet so stay off it! We got plenty of planets for everyone! Here a planet there a planet everywhere a planet planet…O yeah, the “we got aliens” planet, then they can go around and see “aliens” as much as they want. The aliens? well..they probably will go back to theirs and hope we don’t find them. hee hee