Population Bombing

News Brief by Kip Hansen – 6 April 2022

NATURE magazine published a Book Review of a new book out from Jennifer D. Sciubba titled:  “8 Billion and Counting: How Sex, Death, and Migration Shape Our World”.    

Quoting the Nature review:

“Japan is ageing so rapidly that if current trends continue, the nation could eventually disappear altogether”, writes Jennifer Sciubba in her data-packed book 8 Billion and Counting.

Almost eight billion people live on Earth; their futures are highly divergent, argues Sciubba, a senior associate at Washington DC think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The twenty-first century “is less a story about exponential population growth than it is a story about differential growth — marked by a stark divide between the world’s richest and poorest countries”, she writes.”

In Latin America and the Caribbean, eastern and southeast Asia, Europe and North America, Australia and New Zealand, the total fertility rate (TFR), or average number of children a woman is likely to have in her lifetime, was below replacement level (around 2.1 children per woman) in 2020. By contrast, sub-Saharan Africa’s population is set to increase sixfold this century; its TFR is 4.72, down from 5.88 two decades ago. In Nigeria, children and adolescents are half of the population. In rural towns in South Korea, primary schools are closing for lack of pupils, whereas urban areas of Lagos ring “with the sounds of children playing”….

The book is fascinating, but no real surprises are to be found for those who actually follow population trends.   [ I certainly hope that the book reviewer is misquoting the book author about Japan “eventually disappearing.” ]

You might be interested in seeing some of the actual data:

Two things of interest stand out:  1) This is the actual number of births.  Focus on the right -hand side of the graphic and on the width of colored areas.  Asia we see is responsible for the largest number of total births but the width of the bar is narrowing – there are fewer births each year.  The opposite is true for Africa, the blue band is getting wider and wider, more and more births.  It is harder to see, but Europe is narrowing with fewer births, with North America remaining more or less stable.  Latin America and the Caribbean births are increasing.

The second interesting thing is that births dipped sharply in the 1970s and in the 1990s.  One might speculate that the spreading use of the birth control pill after 1965 caused the first dip. The 1990s dip is best explained by this chart of regional fertility:

In this study, we see plummeting fertility rate in East Asia dropping below the replacement level through the 1990s.  Note that Africa is not on this chart.  China’s “one child policy” was not implemented until 1980.

Our World in Data offers this speculative version:

The top two traces are Africa which is the obvious outlier with TFR above 4 while the rest of the world is 2.5 and below.  The breakout box shows the number of regions that are already below the replacement level which include both North and South America and Europe. 

One more then readers can discuss the news:

Here we see that world population growth (the upper-most trace) mirrors Asia growth (the dark red, second trace down).  However, the sharp decline in Asian growth is being clearly offset by rising growth in Africa, which is the only region shown to be rising substantially.

And for World Total Population?  The numbers are rising and will continue to as human life spans increase and reproduction does not stop.  The United Nations predicts it will peak out at about 11 billion around 2100.

What are the reasons for this pattern?  What are the causes for the rises and falls in population? 

# # # # #

Author’s Comment:

Don’t ask me – I don’t know.  I do know that birth rates fall as standard of living increases, at least historically. 

Worldwide, births have leveled off.  Regionally, births are falling except in Africa.  Many advanced nations have birth rates that fall below replacement and these nations can be shown to be importing workers from other less fortunate nations.  The agricultural sector of the U.S. economy has been doing so for decades and is now doing so for the lower skills of the building trades. 

I haven’t the slightest idea what this all means for human society over the next 50 years – but it is as obvious as noonday sunshine that there is no Ehrlich-ian Population Bomb going off. 

Include the name the person to whom you speaking in your comment – if not just a general statement.

Thanks for reading.

# # # # #

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April 5, 2022 10:18 pm

The last person living in Japan will be tremendously wealthy.

The rest of the world already owes Japan USD3.74tr and the wealth continues to accrue.

Jeff corbin
Reply to  RickWill
April 6, 2022 9:09 am

The last person in Japan will be Chinese and/or Russian generations before the stand of the Last ethic Japanese citizen.

April 5, 2022 10:24 pm

Educating women is the most effective means of reducing fertility rate.

Hard for a working woman to fit baby making into a tight schedule. They also learn how babies are made and how not to make babies.

Reply to  RickWill
April 6, 2022 1:25 am

Link to infrastructure such as electricity, water and wastewater.
You can’t study if you have collect water from well and hand wash clothes.

Jeff corbin
Reply to  Waza
April 6, 2022 9:13 am

People can live in tents and burn wood in clay stoves and raise their own food
and build themselves and be married and have tons of babies. Sorry you are missing the point so badly…. the issue isn’t economic it’s sexual.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 6, 2022 9:40 am

strong id, more babies.

suppressed id, less babies.

(how is id suppressed?)

tom hewitt
Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 7, 2022 10:57 am

Oswald Spengler made observations on this some time ago:


Reply to  Jeff corbin
April 6, 2022 5:48 pm

Economics is one aspect of it. Intergenerational wealth-flow theory (Caldwell 1974) suggests that fertility will be high where children are financial assets (as agricultural workers, supporting parents in their retirement). Once they become a financial liability, fertility will drop.

Alan Robertson
Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 6, 2022 2:26 pm

Populations continue to increase in some African nations, as the poorest of the poor try to insure a family legacy against the ravages of malaria, which has killed 3 Billion (with a B) African children since DDT was banned.

Widespread spraying of the pesticide isn’t required to be effective against mosquitos, as demonstrated by India, which never bought into the banning of the life- saving DDT. A wash of DDT applied to walls of living and work spaces is an effective deterrent.
This minimal application of the chemical is well known to the continued proponents of DDT’s ban, who typically are the same people who announce that human populations must be reduced.

Reply to  Alan Robertson
April 6, 2022 5:50 pm

Yup, having extra children to compensate for expected deaths is called ‘replacement fertility’. As hygiene and medical care improve, fewer children will die but old fertility behaviour will persist for a while. Much the same as in Europe of 19th century, leading to a population ‘explosion’.

Intelligent Dasein
Reply to  iggi
April 7, 2022 5:48 am

That is not what replacement fertility means at all.

Richard Barraclough
Reply to  Alan Robertson
April 8, 2022 4:24 pm

You’re out by a factor of at least 100 there. It kills a few hundred thousand per year, and DDT has been banned in various parts of the world for 40 to 50 years

Dale S
Reply to  RickWill
April 6, 2022 7:27 am

I’ve repeatedly heard that educating women is a driver of reducing fertility rate, but I don’t see the mechanisms proposed as likely and there’s a lot of other societal effects that are happening at the same time, but not necessarily because of, educating women.

Is it hard for a modern career woman to fit baby making into a tight schedule? I very much doubt it — in pre-industrial times most women enduring very long hours of very hard labor, the idea that today’s female professionals have so little leisure time compared to them doesn’t pass the sniff test.

I also doubt that sex education as a part of general education is a major driver, since the general education of women precedes specific sex education, and because knowledge about how babies are conceived (and prevented) doesn’t require formal education to transmit. Modern science has provided more effective and convenient tools to drive down the pregnancy rate, but I doubt that anywhere they are widely available the less educated are unaware of their existence or incapable of following directions for use.

Increasing female educational rates is going to *necessarily* correlate with one thing I suspect is an important causal factor — decline in child labor. A child in school, of either sex, is a child not spending that time laboring at home or farm or factory. When there’s a change in behavior, my inclination is to look first for *economic* motives, and in the case of declining birthrate it is easy to find — children have gone from being economic assets to liabilities. For my non-wealthy ancestors in pre-industrial times (and the vast, vast majority were not wealthy), children could improve the family finances by wages from outside labor or by providing free labor for farm or craft production. By the 20th century, only the farmers benefited financially from large families, and the proportion of farmers had shrunk and would continue to shrink. At this point in time, none of my relatives benefit financially from having more children; that we have them at all is for non-economic reasons, and I have reason to believe some of my relatives would have had more children than they had if they thought they could afford it.

I love my kids, but they aren’t *remotely* cost-effective. That’s not true for a subsistence farmer in a non-industrialized country.

Joe Crawford
Reply to  Dale S
April 6, 2022 9:28 am

Up until the discovery of the first vaccines in the 1870’s and the discovery of the first antibiotic in 1938, you had to have many kids in order for at least one or two to survive. I had a great grandfather that had three sons named after him before one survived. Periodically, some epidemic would come around an wipe out most of the children at that time.

I think the advent of modern medicine and its availability has probably had more to do with decreased family size than has education or standard of living. Of course education of the women does come into play after the need for large families has be reduced by the availability of modern medicine.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 6, 2022 1:01 pm

On the other side of that coin, if one walks through old cemeteries, one will probably be struck by the number of headstones for children. It is well known that the survival of children to adulthood was a significant factor in the increased life expectancy from birth. However, even today, the statistics are calculated based on those who survive their first year.

The life expectancy for people in the middle ages was low not because everyone died at age 25, but because so few children survived. For those who made it through childhood, child bearing years, and conscription age, they could expect to live longer than modern people who make it to retirement age.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 7, 2022 10:49 am

My grandmother and her sister were the only 2 siblings to live into their 90s. Both were born in the 1910s. They had 28 siblings and only 14 lived to teenage years. Childhood diseases ravished the poor families.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
April 7, 2022 1:50 pm

As to life expectancy, in the US, every LIVE birth is counted toward the calculation.

MANY other countries are as you ay, only counting a birth as a birth after some arbitrary number of days.

So when life expectancy of different countries is discussed, they are almost always comparing apples to oranges.

Reply to  Joe Crawford
April 6, 2022 4:12 pm

Joe Crawford – I used to believe that too, but once I learned more I found it wasn’t really true. Sanitation was by far the greatest advance in medical science – vaccines have been minor in terms of overall mortality and antibiotics are mostly useful for wounds and bacterial pneumonias.

You should thank people like Ignaz Semmelweis (handwashing before helping with birthing), Joseph Lister (antiseptic technique in surgery), John Snow (discovering water-borne cholera), and Walter Reed and Carlos Finlay (mosquito-borne disease) for declines in infant mortality and in most epidemics. These advances in sanitation have saved far more people than vaccines and antibiotics.

tom hewitt
Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 7, 2022 11:03 am

That’s why people in Mexico brush their teeth in beer.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 7, 2022 6:43 pm

That is the tricky part, because even in the West, most people seem to take what comes from their taps for granted without understanding how important it is.

Bill Treuren
Reply to  Joe Crawford
April 7, 2022 1:50 pm

sanitation actually

Reply to  Dale S
April 6, 2022 3:54 pm

Dale S – My understanding is that delaying the age of first reproduction is the strongest control on overall fertility. Education contributes to this – especially as it leads to jobs and putting off marriage and family. I think this acts in conjunction with your economic model.

As you note, large families are no longer economically viable for most couples, so there is another reason to wait to start having children – especially as female children are now able to contribute to the economic success of a family, so forcing them into marriage or having babies is counterproductive. On average, this delaying of the first child must bring down population numbers until some level is reached where having more kids is beneficial.

So, I would argue that general education is a primary factor in declining birth rates. I suspect that sex education – especially in its increasingly bizarre manifestation in the US – has other purposes – favouring some groups over others most likely.

Tombstone Gabby
Reply to  Dale S
April 6, 2022 5:32 pm

G’Day Dale S,

“Increasing female educational rates is going to *necessarily* correlate with one thing I suspect is an important causal factor — decline in child labor.”

From about four or five years ago. A study was conducted in India on falling birth rates. One of the researchers looking at a map showing lowering birth rates thought he recognized something. He compared it to a map of TV spread in the rural areas. Almost a perfect match. Interviews followed.

Seems that the rural women were seeing their ‘big city sisters’ living it up – with fewer children. (‘Soap Operas’ are world wide.)

“Education” (propaganda) can come in many formats.

Jeff corbin
Reply to  RickWill
April 6, 2022 9:11 am

Women between the ages of 18-35 need men…. not men in their 40-60’s but young men with diamond rings.

Jeff corbin
Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 6, 2022 11:18 am

Hey Kip,

Marriage is awesome. Just celebrated my 22nd anniversary. I didn’t marry until 45 due to cancer as young adult. I have two awesome kids, wish I could have had more. The two required 800 injections of fertility drugs into my arm but it was worth it. No one was supportive of my marriage either. My fiancé was 17 years younger, had a chronic illness…. my prognosis was so so. I was in seminary and she was in grad school and neither of us had jobs or any money. People though we were stupid LOL. the inverse was certainly true. God’s grace is powerful! I think the change in sexual behavior facilitated by the internet and then the smartphone is in part responsible for the decline in birth rate. Cyborg consciousness paired with porn and male autoerotism is or will be endemic globally. I think you will see the global class differences in birthrates disappear as everyone now has a smartphone…especially those under the age of 35. There will be homogenization of aberrant sexual behavior globally and it will be a major contributor of the growing nihilistic dystopia of our age.

John Moore
Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 6, 2022 12:05 pm

Three home-school families I know – 26 offspring – represent a Faithful demographic lifeboat.
Look around; these folk divined an anchor the West will celebrate.
Blessings continue.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  RickWill
April 6, 2022 12:50 pm

Do you really think that the average African woman doesn’t know how babies are made, or how one catches AIDS? Probably one of the reasons that genital mutilation arose as a cultural practice was to discourage making babies. The Australian Aborigines had even more severe practices for coming of age rituals for young men.

MM from Canada
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
April 7, 2022 5:19 pm

“Probably one of the reasons that genital mutilation arose as a cultural practice was to discourage making babies.”

Considering that FGM is typically done BEFORE a girl is pubescent (as young as 5 years old), I doubt it. Ayan Hirsi Ali says,

“The aim of FGM in all its forms is to control female sexuality…, to take physical pleasure from sex and reduce the libido. In its more severe forms … the aim is to ensure the girl is a virgin on her wedding night…. FGM is the symptom of harmful cultural beliefs that girls and women must be sexually pure, modest and that their bodies exist to breed.”

Reply to  RickWill
April 6, 2022 5:45 pm

It’s not just education but also empowerment to make their own life choices.

April 5, 2022 10:26 pm

We are officially evolving in reverse.

Reply to  Jake
April 6, 2022 3:45 am

Still evolution, but the fitness function has changed. This is similar to progress, which is an unqualified monotonic process or change: one step forward, two steps backward.

Bryan A
Reply to  n.n
April 6, 2022 5:24 am

Oh my aching Brow Ridge

Gerry, England
Reply to  Jake
April 6, 2022 5:37 am

That is certainly true of the west’s energy policy. In the 1800s the Dutch built 3 beautiful steam powered pumping stations to drain the area around Amsterdam. Each one replaced 240 windmills. The coal used to make steam was then used to replace them with electric pumps. And now we – sorry, they – think windmills are progress?

Jeff corbin
Reply to  Jake
April 6, 2022 9:23 am

YES! The word is devolving not evolving…. natural selection sustains populations not destroy them. The girls are on the screens of smartphones for millions of glow facing men who don’t have to compete. The lack of competition means young women then have to compete … that is for older men who don’t want families…they already have them.. Even our sexuality and relationships have been turned into a global market place. Take a force such as sexual arousal and legitimate intimacy and then leverage it for profit while justifying yourself that your are saving the globe from people…too many people. Our shift to libertarianism in the 1980’s opened the door wide to globalizing the market for Pho-sex and concentrating it in a hand held device already designed to capture it’s owner.

John Moore
Reply to  Jeff corbin
April 6, 2022 12:09 pm

Faux- / ‘pho-‘ ? !
Another neologism?

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Jeff corbin
April 6, 2022 1:07 pm

Do you mean “libertinism” as in libertine rather than libertarian?

Kevin Hilde
Reply to  Jeff corbin
April 7, 2022 12:25 am

“Our shift to libertarianism in the 1980’s opened the door wide to globalizing the market for Pho-sex and concentrating it in a hand held device already designed to capture it’s owner.”
I guess I must have missed the “shift to libertarianism in the 1980’s.” I could have sworn it was the beginning of a slow slide toward socialism. But anyway ….

Maybe, Jeff Corbin, before running your mouth, you should learn the meanings of the words.

In response to the literal meaning of your words, I suppose some libertarians might say just capture it in your own hand held bowl in the privacy of your own kitchen, and don’t make the rest of us think about it.

But now you’ve got me picturing a store shelf and next to the “Nissin Cup Noodle” there’s this product called “Corbin Pho Cup.”

April 5, 2022 10:31 pm

Timely and important article – thanks Kip!

“Japan is ageing so rapidly that if current trends continue, the nation could eventually disappear altogether.” (Nature review)

This statement is based on the exact same monstrous stupidity that has engendered the climate catastrophe narrative.

“Look! The tide has risen three meters in only 6 hours! In Two weeks it will drown the whole world!”

Last edited 1 month ago by Phil Salmon
Reply to  Phil Salmon
April 5, 2022 11:15 pm

Spot on, Phil.

More stupidity, both in highly paid, allegedly intelligent and well educated GangGreen shroudwavers; also across the world.


John Moore
April 6, 2022 12:18 pm

Well-trained – IMHO – hardly ‘educated ‘.

Alexander Vissers
Reply to  Phil Salmon
April 6, 2022 12:52 am

I agree that at face value is is pretty ridiculous but Iif you have not read the full article it is hard to tell. With China as a neighbour, the Japanese Nation could well be at risk of being colonized by the Chinese or as the case may be other nations.

H. D. Hoese
Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 6, 2022 8:28 am

Todd, P. A., J. R. Guest, J. Lu, L. M. Chou. 2010. One in four citations in marine biology journals is inappropriate. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 408:299-303. Open Access https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08597

A kind way of putting it, conservative analysis. I was just corresponding with a colleague over his just out model with a validation too distant for my taste. Known each other for a long time, produced good works, also knew his major professor who was well aware of what was going on. He admitted that the introduction was “boilerplate.” Intro had numerous citations, quit counting at three dozen. Some were questionable, at least one discredited. Paper had 5 authors, haven’t seen any analysis, but number of authors sure seems to have greatly increased which makes it more like a committee, no doubt important exceptions. Not so much in marine biology. Administrative evaluators have failed, the old important necessity for homework for a publication has been corrupted by the ease of access among other reasons.

Pointed out before that journals love advertising, counting Most Cited, Most Popular, Most Downloaded and just found a new one–“Most Tweeted.” Might make more sense than the others. There are a few papers discrediting “Impact Factors.”

Dave Fair
Reply to  H. D. Hoese
April 6, 2022 2:21 pm

H. D., your “… number of authors sure seems to have greatly increased which makes it more like a committee …” seems right on; IIRC, PAGES2K (2019) has over 70 authors. And it managed to get rid of the minor Medieval Warm Period found in PAGES2K (2013).

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Phil Salmon
April 6, 2022 7:05 am

Three metres is nothing The difference between low tide and high tide in the Mersey estuary in the UK can be as much as 9 metres which is really worrying! 🙂

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Dave Andrews
April 6, 2022 1:10 pm
Dave Fair
Reply to  Phil Salmon
April 6, 2022 7:47 am

“Japan is ageing so rapidly that if current trends continue, the nation could eventually disappear altogether.” Things continue until they don’t.

Reply to  Dave Fair
April 6, 2022 9:01 am

Indeed, based on the current figures the estimate is that the last Japanese child will be born in the early 4000s (Tohoku University) ! The present trend is for a falling, aging population, in 2014 the population over 65 had risen to 26% from 5% in 1950 and those under 14 fallen from 24% to 13%. The sale of adult diapers apparently passed the sale of those for infants in the same year! The population is expected to more than halve by the end of the century. They’ve been closing schools at quite a rate, often converting them to nursing homes for the elderly, it’s going to take quite a societal change to reverse the trend.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Phil.
April 6, 2022 9:31 am

Phil, your “… it’s going to take quite a societal change to reverse the trend.” is quite correct in my opinion. That change will come when there are no longer enough younger people to support the “prunes.” Exclusively living off prior capital investments only works for so long.

Reply to  Phil Salmon
April 6, 2022 8:47 am

We know why the tide stops rising in a few hours.
Do you have any evidence that the current drop in fertility is going to end soon?

Reply to  Phil Salmon
April 6, 2022 9:34 am

I was thinking the same thing, Phil – there always seems to be the assumption that current trends will never change. Seems to come from the same mindset that thinks climate was always stable in the past.

Reply to  Phil Salmon
April 6, 2022 9:51 am

Japan – and other countries of similar size – have had populations of only 1-5% of the current level in past centuries and functioned normally. One suspects that once population fell to say a tenth of present, 10 million or less, some kind of societal feedback would kick in increasing birth rates.

There’s this brain-dead journalist way of looking at the world in which anything – anything at all – that changes is automatically and unthinkingly seen as an impending catastrophe about to destroy the world, when in reality it’s a rather normal and benign process of evolution. Climate change is the biggest example.

But population is the same. First it was “population is increasing out of control, we’re all going to DIIIIEEE”. Suddenly without missing a beat, without even a millisecond pause, it has changed to “population is decreasing out of control, we’re all going to DIIIEEEE!”

Modern education and lifestyles mean that birth rates will fall eventually worldwide – even in Africa. And this is OK. Really – it is. Population could fall to a half or quarter of present and life will go on fine. There will not be a zombie apocalypse of oldies. Just a kink in the population curve that will pass through and pass away with time.

The doom merchants will be proved wrong for the 10,000th time. Although in California I have no doubt that Paul Ehrlich will still have his devoted followers.

Reply to  Phil Salmon
April 7, 2022 1:06 pm

Phil Salmon ==> You have to consider the actual demographics, and the shift in attitudes towards the non-productive in society.

Sure, many places survived just fine with a much lower population. But a far larger proportion of that population was productive. Right now, to maintain the current “safety net” enjoyed by Western nations (which the rest of the world rightly aspires to) requires at least four producers, probably more, to maintain one non-producing adult. (Non-producing includes not only the elderly, but the welfare cases.)

Productivity per producer is going to have to grow significantly – or attitudes towards carrying the non-producers are going to have to change drastically.

April 5, 2022 10:31 pm

Just a couple of general comments.

First, the replacement rate is higher than 2, unless you erroneously round down. Replacement is one female born and brought to reproductive age per current female, which is not the ratio among humans.

Second, East Asia (and other cultures, not just them) have a particular problem. A girl child is a dead loss to the parents – a boy contributes to their current wealth, and is expected to care for them in later life (along with his wife, who is thus a dead loss to the other family). “One Child” exacerbated that problem, certainly, but if you read accounts by Christian missionaries in 19th Century China, those that had orphanages attached were invariably overflowing with girl children (who were the lucky ones).

An interesting site is this: https://statisticstimes.com/demographics/countries-by-sex-ratio.php.

Although it is disappointing that they don’t break out the “fertile” demographic – approximately 16 to 35 years.

Reply to  writing observer
April 6, 2022 4:40 am

It might get real bad if more men decide to become a woman and end of f_ing themselves.

Reply to  Scissor
April 7, 2022 1:07 pm

You need very, very few males to maintain a population. Admittedly, they’ll be very BUSY men, but still…

Reply to  writing observer
April 6, 2022 12:33 pm

Some of the differences must be to in- and out-migration of working age males. However, even before sex selection became easy, for people living near the edge waiting an extra day before taking a girl baby with pneumonia to the doctor or giving the boy a bit more of scarce things like fresh milk produced higher male/female ratios. This was the case in rural Nepal in the 80’s.

April 5, 2022 10:50 pm

One wonders what population change projections underlie climate models extending to future centuries. Probably absurd Ehrlich-ian population exponential growth fantasies. Not the reality of falling world population by 2100 – if not before.

April 5, 2022 11:51 pm

“Japan is ageing so rapidly that if current trends continue, the nation could eventually disappear altogether”, writes Jennifer Sciubba

Not true. Japan has allowed an influx of Chinese migrants. The future of Japan is assured. It’ll just be Chinese.

Reply to  Philip
April 6, 2022 1:24 am

Population would have to fall extremely for any desirable place to have no humans — unless the fanatics who buy large tracts and prohibit any human from setting foot therein get to own enough of the planet

Reply to  Philip
April 6, 2022 4:38 am

China has it’s own birth rate problems. It’s population is projected to be cut in half by the end of the century. At some point, they are going to begin forcibly discouraging their citizens from emigrating to other countries.

John Hultquist
Reply to  Steve4192
April 6, 2022 8:12 am

“cut in half” appears to be one of the low estimates, but not the lowest. One study says that will happen in 45 years.
A U.N. study says about 1.07B (medium variant) and 1.35B for the high estimate.

April 6, 2022 12:17 am

I can’t decide how much of a problem demographic trends are, in fact.

I accept that some intelligent people think declining birth rates are a big deal. Mark Steyn for one.

I accept that China’s old ‘one child’ policy will cause obvious serious problems. But that seems to me mainly because Chinese culture places so much value on males.

I certainly don’t go along with fools like Ehrlich or other eugenicists and the only benefit of the apparently fashionable idea of not having children “to save the Planet” is that hopefully the most gullible, selfish and stupid people will remove themselves from the gene pool.

But whilst there are problems during a period of transition, I suspect that in the longer term, a smaller and (on average) wiser population might work out very well.

I look with particular interest at Japan, which I admire in many ways. At the moment they are having a ‘Shogunate’ period, banning tourists. (Because-Covid, of course.) This is pretty stupid, as a glance at Jacinda Adhern will confirm.

The vast majority of readers will have experience of their Beloved Leaders having IQ scores smaller than their hat sizes.

But if there is a country that can make lower, older population work, I think it will be Japan. After all, those who clutch at their pearls because of rising world population – or over declining birthrates – often go on in their next breath to talk about the problem of IR and robotics. And Japan is pretty good at both.

Nick Graves
April 6, 2022 12:38 am

I suspect that as Japan gets less overcrowded due to ageing and assuming it ever gets out of its 30-year economic stagnation, it may become fashionable to start forming families once again.

It does seem to occur historically after large depopulation events; wars, disease, famines – or even lethal injections…

I also suspect that if Africa is ever permitted to develop economically for itself, it will rinse & repeat the pattern.

Despite my childhood Malthusian brainwashing, I have come to the conclusion it’s largely all doom-bollocks.

April 6, 2022 1:28 am

“hopefully the most gullible, selfish and stupid people will remove themselves from the gene pool”

I can’t claim to have proof but I suspect that genetics have nothing to do with such people. It is all in their conditioning and training.

Reply to  AndyHce
April 6, 2022 9:35 am

I suspect genetics provides the potential for learning and training provides the success of the people.
Isolation makes inbreeding more probable.
Inbreeding has historically provided poor results for the population.

April 6, 2022 2:54 am

“ At the moment they are having a ‘Shogunate’ period, banning tourists. (Because-Covid, of course.) This is pretty stupid, as a glance at Jacinda Adhern will confirm.”

I thought the gene therapy shot works 🤓

Bruce Ranta
April 6, 2022 5:48 am

I think, based largely on what I read and heard 30-40-50 years ago, that the Japanese were weary of living in increasingly crowded conditions. Collectively, the masses decided fewer was better. If anyone is going to be successful in basing an economy on a declining, then eventually a stable population, it will be the Japanese, IMO. But it will take time. Lives are long.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 6, 2022 8:24 am

Ah, hai. Japan was going to rule the world. IMO the post WWII generations have enjoyed being Westernized and lost much of theIr ancestor’s work ethic and enjoying their leisure. The same will eventually occur in China if they accrue a middle class. India does not seem to fit the pattern.

Bruce Ranta
Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 6, 2022 10:08 am

I don’t doubt anything you say. But in crowded conditions, it saw that even going to the driving range meant hitting balls off towers to accommodate the masses. The Japanese flocked to places like Banff (and still do) and love the space. A high standard of living is a difficult thing to measure. It takes a lot less income (a lot!!!) to live where I do than in the inner city. And I get to see birds and animals on a regular basis that urbanites can only see if they watch tv, look at pics or go on expensive vacations. Japanese IMO want more space in their country.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bruce Ranta
Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 7, 2022 3:09 pm

It may be relevant that, whilst property prices in Greater Tokyo are extraordinarily high, if you are able to live out in the sticks, I saw nice old properties in the Shikoku hills and again in Sado Island that I could have bought on my credit card.

Old Man Winter
April 6, 2022 12:32 am

I think the reason the high birth rate in Africa is that kids are parents’
retirement plan. With the death rate still high there, they are hoping enough of
them reach the age of majority to care for them when they are old.

The reason for the other areas falling is that urban kids cost parents to have
whereas kids on farms are a source of income. I grew up in a farming
community where the largest family I knew of had 20 kids. I was from a
family of ten. Nowadays, even farmers there may only have 2-4 kids as most
everything is automated. This compares to urban families ~< 2.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 6, 2022 2:14 am

Family planning has already been tried & failed. That’s why I think the fact
children being considered as their parents’ retirement plan may be a
major driver of large families. I attached a graphic of child mortality, with
Africa being by far the highest.


Another factor for large families may be cultural. Where women are treated
as property & don’t have equal rights as in the West, they have little say as to
their lot in life. With rights, they determine if/who they marry and how many
kids they want to have. Also, husbands can be charged with sexual
assault/rape with freedom vs probably not where they are property.

Lastly, technology is also a contributing factor. Most farm kids I knew helped
with work as soon as they were big enough & capable of doing the job. I was
working by age 6, got up for morning chores the next year & milking a cow
by hand the following year. In the summer. I put in up to 16 hr days (including
meals) 6.25 days a week- not always working/working hard, but I was always
available to work. When it rained & we couldn’t work somewhere inside,
usually my parents went to town & us kids played. It was like this for
everyone I knew.

Willis made the point that 1kwh is the work of a man for 8 hrs. In Africa, they
have little electricity. Any family, urban or rural, that runs a small business
will have their kids doing what they are able to do to contribute to their
family’s income. They have very little equipment so everything they do takes
many more times to do vs if they had equipment to do it. (Power outages
sucked as did broken equipment) Because Honda 50 motorcycles were so
versatile (check out Wiki), it may have been the major reason poverty was
reduced globally.

(I actually probably started helping with work when I was 4 but
I didn’t have to be available until I was 6. If we would have had
kindergarten, that may have been 5.)

Last edited 1 month ago by Old Man Winter
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 6, 2022 6:40 am

Maybe the African parents are generally not as brainwashed as those on the rest of the planet to hate children.

“areas of Lagos ring “with the sounds of children playing”

Sounds beautiful!

Having and raising a happy and loving family is the meaning of life!

Old Man Winter
Reply to  PCman999
April 6, 2022 9:28 am

For them, children are a blessing & unfortunately, infant
mortality is a norm, more like it was for us three to four
generations ago. When people visited, we often stayed
up to 2am, enjoying their company, knowing we’d be a bit
tired the next day. Work will always be there, people will

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 6, 2022 11:36 am

Unfortunately, our culture’s motto is: “Money isn’t
everything, it’s the only thing!” The misery that
having it as our cruel master is quite evident.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 6, 2022 10:41 am

I grew up in the 60s & 70s on a dairy farm in the heart of
MN. I have been to 45 states, many of our possessions as
well as 20 countries in a variety of places. I never made it
to Africa but in 1985, we had planes bringing relief
supplies into Timbuktu, sometimes being thwarted by
dust storms. I also knew a lot of other people who
traveled to places I didn’t make it to with interesting
stories to tell. My sister went to Cuba & I asked her what
wooden trinkets tourists could buy & they were so poor,
they didn’t even have that! The slums may be on the
outskirts of town instead of near downtown & you can
find them because of the smell.

What I was presenting was harsh reality of what people
face. What I didn’t say was that to have a life being in
“survival mode”, attitude is everything. Anything better
than that is a joy. I went through survival training, with 3
meals over 5 days, where they kept us busy hiking & doing
things to survive. Rattlesnake, armadillo lung, & ants are a
tasty treat on an empty, sometimes growling stomach.
Having cut trees, I would never try to eat box elder leaves.

I only got a glimpse of some things you saw in the DR. (I
flew with George from the DR- he always had a smile & a
wonderful laugh. He knew he had it good!) We had
electricity, tractors, etc., but at times we needed to do
hand work to augment the equipment we had. (Keeping
energetic farm kids busy kept us out of mischief.) You
did what it took to get the job done in a timely manner.
I did a lot of hand work & had the calluses to prove it. I
picked rocks by myself for two months cuz that’s what it
took! Walking/biking a mile to town was normal, which is
quite popular for Brits going to market.

Culturally, not having all our freedoms is fully accepted as
is surviving severe poverty. They can be happier facing
austerity than we can be with more stuff than we will ever
need. A boy finding a broken toy in the dump, like my Dad
did for me, means they have more than they did before.
When people visited, we’d be up to 2am, knowing we’d
have a full work day ahead. Work is always there, the joy
& laughter of others’ company isn’t.

One thing each of us has is dignity & self-respect which
we have despite our circumstances & allows people to
muddle through life. You’re still alive which is better than
being dead. You then take that & go with it.

While staying in 5 star hotels & being in tour groups is
one way to see the world but your way of volunteering &
getting your hands dirty is something you’ll remember

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 6, 2022 11:51 am

I did spend three weeks in San Pedro Sula (~100k people) for
three weeks & we drove 20 miles to get to the airport The
slum we passed a mile out of town had the sweet smell of pig
manure. Otherwise, it was only 1 night, & we always stayed
at places that had the comforts of a normal hotel. We’d
usually take a taxi or walk to go to bars & restaurants. So, as
I said, I only got a glimpse of some of their culture.
(SPS was in Honduras. Oddly enough, I had the best Won ton
soup anywhere when I went to Tegucigalpa for a night. San Miguel beer varied in strength & was
available in both Panama & the Philippines)

Last edited 1 month ago by Old Man Winter
Old Man Winter
Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 6, 2022 12:17 pm

I did stay in Glyfada, a suburb of Greece & it was
modern. Buildings weren’t taxed until completed-
workers would mix concrete on the ground & use
a wheel barrow to haul it.

In Turkey, I’d be there at least 2 weeks at a time.
We stayed on base with 40-year old male “house
boys” as women weren’t permitted to be maids.
It was fairly modern as you could see anything
from a woman walking with a basket on her head
to semis on a major two-lane highway. They used
many story bamboo scaffolding to build taller
buildings. The marketplace didn’t smell like it did
in Honduras, but I did see the same vendor cart
used in both places! I did see a young boy
dumpster diving, looking for “treasures unknown”!

In Turkey, the house of “ill repute” was next to the
prison as it was the wife’s responsibility to get
money to feed her husband in prison. People
could lose a hand if caught stealing. That’s a lot
harsher than in the West!

Last edited 1 month ago by Old Man Winter
Old Man Winter
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 6, 2022 12:20 pm

Greece- S/B Athens

Dave Fair
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 6, 2022 9:44 am

Anybody remember: “Nifty, Thrifty Honda Fifty?”

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 6, 2022 12:22 pm

I had the Bridgestone variety. It sure beat walking or
biking a few miles!

Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 7, 2022 6:44 am

I remember the saying,
nothing wears off the new as fast as a Honda 50
which doesn’t say they weren’t quite useful if one had nothing better.

Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 6, 2022 4:32 am

Elon Musk has 8 kids but I don’t think they are supposed to be for looking after him when he is old, on Mars.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 6, 2022 10:58 am

Interesting. Where is the child mortality rate the highest?
Farmers are probably best suited for survival because they have
the tools & knowledge to survive & it takes severe drought for
them to fail. In cities, you are probably a squatter or living in the
city dump & don’t have many resources available. Also, crime is
probably big. Two million street urchins in the US in the late 19th
century were relocated to small towns & farms by charities as a
way to give them a brighter future. I’d rather be rural than urban
if I was in survival mode.

Mother Teresa actually took care of those who were dying so
they wouldn’t die alone, knowing someone cared, giving the
poorest dignity.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 6, 2022 12:38 pm

What I meant was this: is it rural or is it urban? Those
slums are worse than pig sties with gangs roving like
vultures being in survival mode themselves!

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 6, 2022 1:22 pm

Thanks for sharing notes & the enjoyable
conversation. We’ll have to do this again
some time.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 6, 2022 11:09 am

The Pilgrims’ ignorance of farming was always a mystery to me
until I found out they were mostly “townies”- many having lived in
Holland. It explained everything!

Eric Vieira
April 6, 2022 12:47 am

It will also be interesting to see if these fertility rates show sharp decreases after 2021 due to massive mRNA vaccinations. Negative effects on fertility have already been published.

Reply to  Eric Vieira
April 6, 2022 2:57 am

It certainly will be interesting.

Reply to  Eric Vieira
April 6, 2022 4:44 am

I don’t know if it will be massive, but there is definitely some evidence of increased miscarriages and unpredictability in menstruation. It may turn out to be a big deal or it might just be background noise.

Jeff corbin
Reply to  Eric Vieira
April 6, 2022 10:04 am

I am not a fan of the mRNA vax but before you can assume the vax will be a contributing factor to the reduction of global fertility you need sperm counts of thousands of men who have had the vax 6 months prior and one year prior… no data like this exists yet. The current studies suggest a slight reduction in conception rates 60 days post vaccination. This could be true with any vaccination. I was out of commission for two weeks after the shingles vax. The issue with the mRNA vax could be a short term immuno-response that does not last or it is stickily post vaccine behavioral issue. With out sperm counts all bets are off. The elephant in the living rooms is being totally missed in this line of posts. The issue has to be a massive change in male sexual behavior not the lack of sperm.

Alexander Vissers
April 6, 2022 1:00 am

Prosperity is a major factor in child birth. In a prosperous society family life becomes less important. And bringing up children and education of children way more expensive.

April 6, 2022 1:32 am

Strange how the climate advocates haven’t cottoned on to the fact that the biggest increase in population is in the developing countries – the countries supposedly suffering from climate refugees.

Our world in data illustrates deaths from droughts have decreased by over 85% since the 1920s.

Reply to  richard
April 6, 2022 4:48 am

They also haven’t cottoned to global greening driving up crop yields and increasing arable land (though the immediate future may be bleak due to spiking fertilizer prices).

April 6, 2022 1:38 am

Age dependency ratio. How many over 65 vs 20 to 64.
Japan is highest but will peak.
Italy and Germany not far behind.
China is interesting. With one child family, you will have so many couples to take care of four parents.

Reply to  Waza
April 6, 2022 8:03 am

China is interesting

One thing you don’t want in any society is a large quantity of surplus men of military age not getting a nooky and being domesticated by women
Bare branches: China’s surplus men – Policy Forum

Dave Fair
Reply to  observa
April 6, 2022 9:48 am

Notice most of the people coming across America’s southern border are military aged males? Women and children get the most news, though. Of course our government is having trouble now in identifying women.

Peter Buchan
April 6, 2022 2:26 am

Assessing and analyzing demographic trends is vital if we – i.e. citizens and policymakers – are to develop a functioning, realistic and actionable model that reasonably captures the complexity of how humanity nests within, and interacts with, our finite natural environment. Unfortunately there’s been a tendency on WUWT (and in fact most analysis across most domains) to focus on “complication” rather than “complexity”; on problem solving rather than problem finding. This is a wide ranging subject but I’ll limit it to one input for the sake of making the point:

No serious conclusions can be reached on how to address issues and risks relating to climate, economics, geopolitics, technology development or culture (etc) without acceptance of the underlying and universal necessity for maintaining social cohesion and fending off existential nihilism – within local communities and nation-states, as well as between nation-states and competing cultures.

Reframed: the idea that a world filled with “educated and productive” single-child or childless families and/or unmarried, childless individuals kneeling at the altar of “the Self as center of the Universe” might – or even can – maintain peace, pet alone prosperity, in a nuclear-armed and ever more nihilistic world order is not only far-fetched, naive and ahistorical.

That there seem to be no reasonable or socially palatable alternatives to universal education, “emancipation” and the erosion of traditional multi-child family units can be debated; that we’re rushing headlong towards world where fewer and fewer have skin in the existential game cannot.

There are nuanced facets to world-depopulation and demographic restructuring which, if ignored, will seriously limit the range of solutions we’re able to apply down the track.

Michael Elliott
Reply to  Peter Buchan
April 6, 2022 3:46 am

If history is any guide over population leads to a need to expand.

Look at Japan in the 1930 tees.

Africa will go the same way.

While many will claim Refugee status & try to settle in Europe, they the Europens will finally wake up to what that means from a cultural point of view.

So we are back to the four horsemen.

War & disease will reduce the population..

Michael VK5ELL

Dave Fair
Reply to  Peter Buchan
April 6, 2022 9:50 am

I vote to just carry on and leave it up to them to handle.

April 6, 2022 5:04 am

The people of the UN have been obsessed with 10 billion since I was in grade school which was a long time ago. Every time one of these population projections made it is already several years behind the changes in trend. My reading of the tea leaves is that we don’t make 9 billion, particularly with the impending supply chain break down in food due to disruptions in fertilizer supply which is the only reason we’re able to feed the people we have. Africa in particular will have its population growth crash much more rapidly than anyone anticipates

Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 6, 2022 8:33 am

The collapse of wealth in the West

April 6, 2022 5:15 am

Having lived in Japan for 5-years, I can attest to the societal problem with marriage there. 1. The oldest female is expected to remain at home to care for the parents. 2. Women who marry will move to the grooms family home and be under the thumb of their mother-inlaw, while the husband drinks at bars every night.

My wife taught English to a group 15 Japanse gals. Most were in their 30’s-40’s and have never married. At that age they are never likely to marry.

Gerry, England
April 6, 2022 5:44 am

In the UK our population growth is from uncontrolled immigration of undesirables entering illegally and never being sent back as NGOs queue up to use the law to stop it and the government say a lot but do nothing since they approve of it. The highest birthrate also comes from the immigrant communities.

Steven S
Reply to  Gerry, England
April 6, 2022 6:57 am

This is just rancid, bigoted b*****ks. Annual net legal immigration to the UK amounts to 0.4% of the population. Illegal immigration will be a fraction of that.
As for birth rates, pick your immigrant community. Families with a South Asian background have a higher birth rate than others by a factor of not much, although it is worth noting that most births in that community are now third or fourth generation UK citizens. All of them as British as Gerry.

April 6, 2022 6:22 am

So hype and doom fear peddling has reach demography. What’s next actuarial reports?

April 6, 2022 6:24 am

Children won’t know what snow is, in addition to other hyped claims.

April 6, 2022 7:21 am

first Guam tipped over, now Japan is disappearing

if only we had heeded the warnings

projections past 2070 ignore the real possibility that the death rate may fall dramatically even as birth rate dramatically increases as biology increasingly becomes what Musk termed a “software problem”

fortunately Earth’s ultimate carrying capacity is in the trillions, if we use more than 1% of the crust

and every one of them is useful

by 2100 the surplus of our rapidly growing civilization can fund colonizing Mars and shading Venus

eventually Venus might be exporting giant chunks of frozen plant food (CO2) across the colonizing solar system to support upwards of a quadrillion self-engineered bio-sentients still vaguely resembling their human ancestors

Last edited 1 month ago by TallDave
April 6, 2022 8:46 am

California is doing its part to decrease population.

Man arrested in Sacramento shooting had recently left prison | AP News

Jeff corbin
April 6, 2022 8:51 am

Japan and the rest of the world needs a baby boom, their smartphones will not defend them or make them truly happen in the long run. The rise of smartphone porn and autoerotism is highly addictive and is a serious threat to Japan and South Korea because of their need to sustain a population to maintain a credible military deterrent, As we can see, globalism did not end war as a means of megalomaniacal power and territorial grabbing. Autoerotism as a denominate means of sexual self expression provides a massive challenge to establishing sustainable romantic relationships suitable for raising families…. it distorts everything. It will also produce a terrible mental health crisis that is already emerging over the next decade. It’s time to put a stop the BS.

Gary Pearse
April 6, 2022 9:15 am

Bangladesh had 7 births per woman in 1975. In 2021 this had dropped to 1.95 in 2021, similar to Devel. World. Reason is over 15%/ annum GDP growth. Remarkable demonstration of the effect of wealth on fertility. It is a no brainer that fertility will drop even in Africa when they go ahead with building their coal-fired prosperity.

By 2100 pop will have fallen back to current levels and below. It might peak at ~9 -9.5. You can take this to the bank! UN totalitarians estimate of 11B is probably right if we let them impoverish us

April 6, 2022 9:21 am

High Noon for Japan, Asia’s Toothless Tiger
Here Declan Hayes gives an inside view of Japan’s problem.
“Japan’s looming quandary is that, with Taiwan and South Korea, it has been a vassal of America’s East Asian policy, trading economic advancement for American political and military hegemony in contrast to China’s unfettered development. That bill is now due.”

Anyone ever hear of the Plaza Accords?

Caligula Jones
April 6, 2022 9:32 am

Three questions progressives won’t answer (or can’t, but let’s be fair):

1) what should the population of the earth be?
2) what should the temperature of the earth be?
3) what number do you need to see to take off your mask?

Jeff corbin
April 6, 2022 9:37 am

Macro-Statistics can point to trends, new questions and new variables but it can never get at the the actual phenomena or corelating clusters of phenomena driving the trend. Larger anecdotal questions have to be asked in order to be pointed to other data sets to determine that may be propelling the macro phenomenological trends that are concerning us. We can make all sorts of traditional macro-categorical assumptions about what is driving the declining birth rate. The annual rate of growth graph… the 2nd to the last demonstrates a big drop after 2008 as the world logged into the internet with hand held devices. All the old traditional assumptions about fertility goes out the window as a entire new set of behaviors take hold, especially for those born since 1990. Time for someone to do some serious social-psych micro research into the sexual behavior of people under age 35….especially men..

Jeff corbin
Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 6, 2022 2:05 pm

thanks Kip, I will take a closer look.

Jeff corbin
April 6, 2022 10:45 am

Cyborg consciousness induced by smartphone usage interwoven with sexual arousal and autoeroticism facilitated by said device is the elephant in the living room of population decline. The study below is interesting but a bit flimsy social/psych study but it at least opens up the the issue and provides some useful vocabulary to talk about our world in 2021…beyond the traditional macro population statistical categories.


Jeff corbin
Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 6, 2022 1:54 pm

I will do some more digging. My position is obviously not provable or popular because it points internal micro-variables rather than external macro-variables that public policy can be formed around. Libertarianism is the air we breath. There would be no support for censorship or educating men about the dangers of not preparing themselves whole heartedly to be husbands. But this is the issue, young men are not thinking of themselves as future husbands. They think of themselves of fitting into the flow as consumers of what ever experience that is flowing at them next…. that experience impacts consciousness phenomenologically. It shapes who they are. It makes them perfect consumers. Educating women is a nice idea and might help. Unfortunately, in too many cases women are left without men well into the 2nd decade of their fertility unless they settle for serial short-term monogamous contracted sexual arrangements with men who should have already been married. I have known several young women 16 and 18 started early to find their future spouse, out of fear if they waited too long they end up without and living a life in the flow. In 1995 only 10% of men never married now it’s 23%, in 5 years it will be close to a 3rd of men will never marry. That is a huge demographic shift that points to individual behaviors…and this is what makes the article I sent you relevant even if it is small does not address the issue directly. We need to have a better understanding of cyborg (flow) consciousness and it’s impact on human behavior before we venture out to conclude traditional macro-categories and solutions and miss the micro-ground swell. Finally, many of the factors young people site for not getting married and having children are nothing more than lame blame shifting. school debt, fear of the future—climate change and pandemics, fear of divorce. I don’t think the really know why exactly why……… they’re too much in the flow to know.

Jeff corbin
Reply to  Jeff corbin
April 6, 2022 2:02 pm

BTW don’t listen to the Oil Engineers that post here…. there is plenty of hydrocarbon fuel for a huge 500 year baby boom LOL!. What I need is CNG baby!

April 6, 2022 10:46 am

Good to see Africa’s birth rate rising. A factor is modern medicine with less dying in child birth both parent and child.

April 6, 2022 10:55 am

Interesting to see that the end of century population graph is a UN prediction.
If that was in the book it is disappointing that a Think Tank would not be able to come to a conclusion themselves but parrots an organization which habitually puts out wrong predictions.
If you are going to be wrong anyway it is better to quote someone else’s wrong data to hide behind.
For governments the big issue is not so much the ageing population in % or number terms it is the drop of the younger generation to create GDP growth. They do not only do the work, they also create the economic growth. If that falls unemployment will go up within the working generation and the Guvmints are looking at the double whammy of increasing costs of the older population, pensions and health care, plus ever increasing costs of paying out unemployment benefits. Once that spiral starts it will be hard to stop. As most countries already overspend far more on all sorts of nice to have but not necessary projects, the money is not there to pay for increased social spending without getting further in the proverbial.
(one can always mint more money of course just to kick the can down the road a bit further).

And while no government in the “more developed parts” wants to admit it, so as not to commit political suicide, they all know that they need the immigration from Africa, Asia and South America just to keep the show going. Trying to stop that tide might be helpful to maintain “cultural integrity” but that does not mean s**t if the economy stops.
Not to mention that lawyers make bad drain layers.

The more adventurous predictions have the population topping out at around 9 billion in about 20 years and then hovering at that for some time before a steady decline.
People however have a habit of not following predictions so it will be interesting to see what is going to happen.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 6, 2022 12:15 pm

Kip I have heard of a good crystal ball gazer.
Wasn’t Paul Ehrlich (last name meaning “Honest” in English), Mann what was his name again. Sorry doesn’t come to me right now.
All UN gazings of course

April 6, 2022 11:07 am

UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths reported that there are 325 million people on the edge of starvation in 2022, more than double from three years ago.

Just in case some climatologists are hyperventilating on CO2.

April 6, 2022 12:19 pm

The availability of birth control and medicines that keep kids from dying are both important. In the 60’s in India, My mom got the first Lippies Loops (IUD’s) through the Ford Foundation. Young women with 2-3 babies started coming immediately to slow family growth.

An interesting fact about fertility is, in the absence of externals, a woman will get pregnant at very constant intervals, ranging from 9-10 months to as long a 4 years. This regularity is probably driven partly by the extent to which breastfeeding blocks ovulation, the sensitivity to which varies from woman to woman.

Clyde Spencer
April 6, 2022 12:44 pm

Asia we see is responsible for the largest number of total births but the width of the bar is narrowing.

I’ve always disliked stacked graphs because they are often carelessly constructed, and sometimes purposely constructed so as to support a narrative.

In the case of Asia, it is the only region that looks like a Bactrian Camel from the side. It should probably have been put on the top so as not to distort the other regions and influence the general perception. Africa should have been placed second from the top. From that, a reader could easily recognize that most of the world’s regions have changed little, and that Africa is growing, while Asia is the only area having significant variations over time.

Joao Martins
April 6, 2022 1:23 pm

Has someone sent this article to a certain Paul Ralph Ehrlich?

Joao Martins
Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 7, 2022 6:02 am

He is a hopeless case from the begining. Started to be in the news more or less when I started to study biology as a possible professional path (one or two years before entering yniversity). Hopefully in university I had a few great professors, one of them brought to his classes the then current debates, like Ehrlich, the selfish genes, the coming glacial apocalypse, the theory of everything biological being “controlled” by “genes” (now being revived in the last decade or two), etc…

April 6, 2022 2:31 pm

It has all been said before – most notably by Hans Rosling. 10-15 years ago he was pointing this out in probably the best TED talks ever (from before the days when TED was diluted with second-rate activists).

Don’t take my word for it – find copies of his talks yourself.

A good place to start is Gapminder (https://www.gapminder.org/) where his son has continued his father’s work of pointing out the difference between perception and reality for pretty much every metric of global development. It is both eye-opening and at the same time somewhat depressing that the good news about human development is systematically ignored by almost the entire world.

April 6, 2022 3:12 pm

The UN Population Projection published here is misleading. What was presented is only one of three projections. The lower growth projection has total population n 2100 at about where it is today (7-8 billion).

April 6, 2022 3:36 pm

Kip – While some of these World population trends seem amenable to interpretations such as birth rates declining as income increases, and possibly the overall trends do reflect one or two primary governors, I have to wonder about the internal dynamics of these populations.

The future belongs to those who show up for it – a bit trite, but true. Natural selection is what it is and human populations – unless we develop some robust form of longevity and/or colonise the Universe – are subject to the same pressures as the rest of Nature. Without perturbations, populations will eventually stabilise at some level. Or at least that seems to be what happens – no populations increase forever, most don’t randomly wander to zero. (Japan did fine with much smaller populations in the past, why not in the future?).

But what happens inside those stabilising populations? Are genotype frequencies changing? I would think they must be, but I doubt it is as simple as the obvious trends (e.g. Mormons, Mexican Americans, Amish – name your favourite group with lots of kids – taking over).

Anyway, I have no answers, maybe it is phthalate poisoning or some other doomster nightmare, but I think it is probably something more interesting.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 7, 2022 7:04 pm

Or rather ‘quien será, será’.

I especially wonder at the struggle for conformity vs independence within stabilising populations and how much these traits are genetic and will be selected for or against.

Anyway, this was a great conversation with lots of enlightening and entertaining comments. Thanks again!

April 6, 2022 5:07 pm

The “wealth gap is widening” narrative fails to mention that poverty is reducing worldwide and life span increasing. We’re doing the right things that count.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
April 7, 2022 7:34 am

Especially In the west, the wealth differences are becoming more and more dramatic. How to conceputalize individual “net worths” that increase by a hundred billion $ in short periods while so many are falling below the ability to even maintain a humble home? Can this really happen without extreme favoritism expressed through biased regulation by central government?

My grandfather, a Pennsylvania coal miner (mine worker, not owner or union official) owned (serially) three comfortable, well furnished homes, each on several acres, because my grandmother was never quite satisfied with the houses and always wanted something different. What manual laborer could do that today?

Earl Rodd
April 6, 2022 5:39 pm

Strange that in all the discussions of what causes fertility to decline there is no mention of abortion. The published fertility rates are always after abortion. Obviously, all the factors discussed are important, but so is abortion. Without abortion, the US would have had above replacement numbers the last few decades.

April 6, 2022 11:45 pm

now doing so for the lower skills of the building trades

Tradie here. Since Trump, then the lockdown, I have seen a dramatic reduction of illegals in the trades, landscaping is pretty much unchanged though.

Walter Sobchak
April 6, 2022 11:48 pm

Over-population was the crisis du jour of the 1970’s. Climate Change will go by the boards in the same way.

More information:

“Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline” by Darrell Bricker & John Ibbitson (2019)

“For half a century, statisticians, pundits, and politicians have warned that a burgeoning population will soon overwhelm the earth’s resources. But a growing number of experts are sounding a different alarm. Rather than continuing to increase exponentially, they argue, the global population is headed for a steep decline—and in many countries, that decline has already begun. In Empty Planet, John Ibbitson and Darrell Bricker find that a smaller global population will bring with it many benefits: fewer workers will command higher wages; the environment will improve; the risk of famine will wane; and falling birthrates in the developing world will bring greater affluence and autonomy for women.”


They think the decline has begun in Africa too.

See also:

“Fertility, mortality, migration, and population scenarios for 195 countries and territories from 2017 to 2100: a forecasting analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study” Murray et. al. July 14, 2020 • https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30677-2

Lurker Pete
April 7, 2022 1:14 am

If Dr Swan is correct, all the projections for global population can be taken with a pinch of salt. She says if the historical drop in male sperm counts continues on the same trajectory, most couples will need fertility treatment to become pregnant by 2045!

Shanna H. Swan, Ph.D., is one of the world’s leading environmental and reproductive epidemiologists and a professor of environmental medicine and public health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. An award-winning scientist, her work examines the impact of environmental exposures, including chemicals such as phthalates and Bisphenol A, on men’s and women’s reproductive health and the neurodevelopment of children.

After Skool condenses her 1.5hr talk down to 25 mins for the main points:

Food for thought.

April 7, 2022 10:45 am

Per Jordan Peterson’s population research, he believes we have hit peak population and will not exceed 9 billion for a couple of reasons. Primarily, half of the adult women in the developed world under 30 do not have any children. Of those who will get married in the late 30s, only 1 or 2 children to be likely to be born. By 2099, Nigeria will have more people than China. Fewer people being born limits the numbers of those able to produce future children.

Bill Treuren
April 7, 2022 1:58 pm

So in order to save the world we need to build in Africa 300 coal or gas fired power stations so they can transform their economic status to allow a birth rate similar to ours.

Acceleration of the transformation could conceivably reduce the 11B person UN trajectory to 9B and have it falling to below current levels by 2100.
The outcome would also clean the world dramatically of pollution and resource pressure.

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