Wed Jan 9, 2013, 11:12 PM
dkf (37,305 posts)
Research suggests we may actually face a declining world population in the coming years
A somewhat more arcane milestone, meanwhile, generated no media coverage at all: 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.
And then it will fall.
This is a counterintuitive notion in the United States, where we’ve heard often and loudly that world population growth is a perilous and perhaps unavoidable threat to our future as a species. But population decline is a very familiar concept in the rest of the developed world, where fertility has long since fallen far below the 2.1 live births per woman required to maintain population equilibrium. In Germany, the birthrate has sunk to just 1.36, worse even than its low-fertility neighbors Spain (1.48) and Italy (1.4). The way things are going, Western Europe as a whole will most likely shrink from 460 million to just 350 million by the end of the century. That’s not so bad compared with Russia and China, each of whose populations could fall by half. As you may not be surprised to learn, the Germans have coined a polysyllabic word for this quandary: Schrumpf-Gessellschaft, or “shrinking society.”
American media have largely ignored the issue of population decline for the simple reason that it hasn’t happened here yet. Unlike Europe, the United States has long been the beneficiary of robust immigration. This has helped us not only by directly bolstering the number of people calling the United States home but also by propping up the birthrate, since immigrant women tend to produce far more children than the native-born do.
3 replies, 446 views
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Research suggests we may actually face a declining world population in the coming years (Original post)
|Bjorn Against||Jan 2013||#2|
Response to Bjorn Against (Reply #2)
Thu Jan 10, 2013, 12:44 AM
NoOneMan (4,795 posts)
3. Maybe half. Maybe more
It really depends on how linear and predictible our changes will be and how quickly we can reorganize the food systems.
This reorganization is likely going to be the result of market forces that already happen (crops failing) than foresight to prevent disasters, which means people will be picked off significantly before its address IMO