Have we already reached peak global population?
Birth rates have been declining in wealthy countries for years, and now they are way below replacement level all over the industrialized world. Birth rates are still above replacement level in some poor countries, but they are steadily trending down as young people in those nations embrace cultural values from the wealthy countries. Meanwhile, average life expectancy is falling in the United States and elsewhere, and the number of excess deaths has spiked dramatically all over the planet during the past couple of years. If we cannot find a way to reverse these trends, we will witness a catastrophic population collapse. It is just a matter of time.
According to CNN, the number of births per woman has fallen by more than half since 1950…
In 1950, women typically had five births each; globally, last year, it was 2.3 births. By 2050, the UN projects a further global decline to 2.1 births per woman. In some countries, it is lower. In the US the 1950s, it was 3.6 births per woman, it slipped to 1.6 in 2020, according to the World Bank. In Italy, it was 1.2; in Japan, it was 1.3; in China, 1.2. In January 2022, the country announced the birth rate fell for the fifth year in a row, even with the repeal of the one child policy, allowing couples to have up to three children as of 2021.
Here in the United States, we haven’t been making enough babies to replace ourselves for a very long time.
In fact, we are being told that our fertility rate “has been generally below the replacement level since 1971”…
America’s fertility rate has been generally below the replacement level since 1971 and consistently less than the replacement level for more than a decade. Population projections do not envisage the country returning to the replacement level any time soon.
It is likely that the slide in our fertility rate will actually accelerate in the years ahead, because large numbers of young adults in the U.S. simply do not want to have children.
Earlier this week, I came across an article that greatly saddened me. It explained that there has been “a surge in vasectomies” among young males in the United States in recent months. Now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned, a lot of young males want to make absolutely certain that no “accidents” happen.
But if we do not replace ourselves, we are going to have some very serious societal problems on our hands.
Our population is rapidly aging, and we need millions upon millions of young workers to support our extremely expensive Social Security and Medicare systems…
The number of Americans aged 65 years and older has increased to approximately 56 million, or 17 percent of the population — nearly double the 1960 level of 9 percent. With the growing numbers of older Americans, the large-scale exit of Baby Boomers from the labor force and rising health care expenditures per person, the U.S. government faces rapidly rising costs and worrisome expected insolvencies in the near future of programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
Europe is facing similar problems.
At this point, fertility rates are well below replacement level in every single EU country…
In 2021, France had the highest fertility rate among the EU member states with 1.84 live births per woman according to Eurostat, the statistical office of the EU. Malta had the lowest rate with 1.13 live births. This average for the EU as a whole was 1.53.
If so much migration was not happening, population levels throughout the EU would already be steadily shrinking.
But if you think that things are bad in Europe, just check out what is happening in Asia.
The average woman gives birth to just 1.4 children in Japan, and the rate is even lower in South Korea…
The fertility rates are 1.1 children in South Korea and 1.4 in Japan. The prospects in both cases are alarming, with Japan’s population, which today stands at almost 126 million, dropping to 104 million in 2050 and a mere 72 million in 2100. The figures in South Korea’s case, now with 52 million people, are 46 million by 2050 and 24 million in 2100.
Look at those numbers again.
South Korea’s population will fall by more than half if their fertility rate stays at the current level.
So what happens if the fertility rate continues to drop?
In China, population decline has become a major national crisis.
According to the New York Times, the Chinese population is falling so fast that India will soon take the number one spot by default…
Despite the rollback of China’s one-child policy, and even after more recent incentives urging families to have more children, China’s population is steadily shrinking — a momentous shift that will soon leave India as the world’s most-populous nation and have broad rippling effects both domestically and globally. The change puts China on the same course of both aging and shrinking as many of its neighbors in Asia, but its path will have outsize effects not just on the regional economy, but on the world at large as well.
Just like so many in the western world, young people in China put very little value on marriage and family these days.
As a result, the fertility rate in China has dropped to a depressingly low level of just 1.15 per woman…
China’s fertility rate plummeted to 1.15 children per woman in 2021, far below the replacement level of around 2.1 live births per woman needed to ensure a broadly stable population in the absence of migration.
Russia is also wrestling with huge demographic challenges.
Despite government incentives that encourage having children, the Russians will need approximately “1 million new migrants every year until the end of the century to maintain its current population levels”…
Russia would need to attract as many as 1 million new migrants every year until the end of the century to maintain its current population levels, according to research cited by the RBC news website on Thursday. Russia’s population has declined for the past four years in a row and dropped by half a million people last year alone, standing at 146.45 million people at the start of 2023.
But at least the poor nations are making up for the selfishness of the wealthy nations, right?
To a certain extent, but the truth is that fertility rates are falling in South America, Africa and the Middle East too.
Through education and entertainment, the values of the wealthy countries are being exported all over the world, and this is depressing fertility levels everywhere.
So even if the population of the globe is not dramatically reduced by war, famine, disease, unprecedented natural disasters.
What we choose to believe about marriage, family and children has very serious consequences, and now we really are on the brink of the most serious fertility crisis in all of human history.