You may have read in the news that the world population is on the decline.
According to a July 15, 2020, article on BBC News, “Falling fertility rates mean nearly every country could have shrinking populations by the end of the century. And 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.”
The article continues, “The fertility rate – the average number of children a woman gives birth to – is falling. If the number falls below approximately 2.1, then the size of the population starts to fall. In 1950, women were having an average of 4.7 children in their lifetime.”
See the full article here: www.bbc.com/news/health-53409521.
In a May 22, 2021, article published in the New York Times, “All over the world, countries are confronting population stagnation and a fertility bust, a dizzying reversal unmatched in recorded history that will make first-birthday parties a rarer sight than funerals, and empty homes a common eyesore. Maternity wards are already shutting down in Italy. Ghost cities are appearing in northeastern China. Universities in South Korea can’t find enough students, and in Germany, hundreds of thousands of properties have been razed, with the land turned into parks.”
See the full article here: www.nytimes.com/2021/05/22/world/global-population-shrinking.html.
While some people speculate that this will be better for the environment and climate change, others forecast a future full of imbalance.
Will there be enough younger people in the workforce to take on the jobs of those in their retirement years? How could this impact social security benefits for the aging population with fewer people paying into the system?
At 72 million, the Baby Boomers have been the largest working population of any generation in the workforce. How will companies grow, or even sustain without a workforce? Some companies may have to downsize their output expectations simply based on the lack of workers.
As the author of the New York Times article projects, “The strain of longer lives and low fertility, leading to fewer workers and more retirees, threatens to upend how societies are organized – around the notion that a surplus of young people will drive economies and help pay for the old. It may also require a reconceptualization of family and nation. Imagine entire regions where everyone is 70 or older. Imagine governments laying out huge bonuses for immigrants and mothers with lots of children. Imagine a gig economy filled with grandparents and Super Bowl ads promoting procreation.”
This is all speculation based on population trends, but it seems likely.
I don’t have a strong opinion on this topic. I just find it fascinating, because it gives us a glimpse of our future.
What are your thoughts? Is a declining population good or bad?
You can submit your thoughts in a Letter to the Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.