What happens when the world’s population stops growing?

Most adults around the globe – me included – have contributed to the relentless rise in the world’s population which has devastated the planet. Today the world population stands at 7.8 billion and it is still growing – but this will not always be the case with huge consequences.

You can find a good estimate of the current population and observe the growth in real time here. But fertility rates are falling dramatically. As a result, researchers expect the number of people on the planet to peak at 9.7 billion around 2064, before falling down to 8.8 billion by the end of the century – as explained in this article.

Which countries will be most affected?

Japan’s population is projected to fall from a peak of 128 million in 2017 to less than 53 million by the end of the century.

Italy is expected to see an equally dramatic population crash from 61 million to 28 million over the same timeframe.

Some 23 countries – including Spain, Portugal, Thailand and South Korea – are expected to see their population more than halve.

For humankind as a whole, this fall in the world’s population will have major environmental benefits. But it will change geo-politics where often population size equates to political and market power. And it will change social structures because it will mean an ageing population with all sorts of implications from tax revenues to social care costs to voting patterns.

We need to start preparing now.


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