Houston, we have a problem! Elon Musk alerted us to the “population collapse” problem via Twitter this week. Falling fertility rates in nearly every country could have shrinking populations by the end of the century. 23 nations including Spain and Japan are expected to see their populations halve by 2100. Countries will also age dramatically, with as many people turning 80 as there are being born.
- 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.
- China is expected to peak at 1.4 billion in four years’ time before nearly halving to 732 million by 2100.
- The population of sub-Saharan Africa is expected to treble in size to more than three billion people by 2100; Nigeria will become the world’s second biggest country, with a population of 791 million.
If the fertility rate falls below approximately 2.1, then the size of the population starts to shrink. In 1950, women were having an average of 4.7 children in their lifetime. The global fertility rate nearly halved to 2.4 in 2017 is projected to fall below 1.7 by 2100.
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.
The number of babies born in the U.S. dropped by 4% in 2020 compared with the previous year. It was the sixth consecutive year that the number of births has declined, down an average of 2% per year. It is the lowest number of births since 1979, the National Center for Health Statistics said.
If these predictions are even half accurate, mirgration will become a necessity for all nations and not an option.Prof Ibrahim Abubakar, University College London
The number of over 80-year-olds will soar from 141 million in 2017 to 866 million in 2100, which will create enormous social change.