A new major study on global population has forecast that by the year 2100, the population of more than 20 countries will get reduced by at least 50 per cent. These countries include including Italy, Japan, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Spain and Thailand.
In the next 80 years, the total population in China will drop to about 730 million compared to the current number of 1.4 billion, the study claimed. The study was conducted by an international team of researchers and was published in The Lancet on Wednesday.
The report forecast that by 2100, the total population of the Earth will be at about 8.8 billion which would be two billion less than the projections made by the UN. It new study also forecast declining fertility rates and ageing populations would dictate the new global power alignments.
The report predicted that barring an influx of immigrants, the replacement threshold needed to maintain population levels will likely not be reached by 183 of 195 countries by end of the current century.
The report also noted that the population in Sub-Saharan Africa will triple in size and touch about three billion by 2100. The highest growth will be in Nigeria which is expected to reach a population of 800 million which will be second only to the projected 1.1 billion population of India.
“These forecasts suggest good news for the environment, with less stress on food production systems and lower carbon emissions, as well as significant economic opportunity for parts of sub-Saharan Africa,” lead author Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, told AFP news agency.
“However, most countries outside of Africa will see shrinking workforces and inverting population pyramids, which will have profound negative consequences for the economy.”
The study concluded that implementing flexible immigration policies and providing robust social support policies for families who want to have children will be the best solutions for those high-income countries in this category that want to sustain population levels and consequent economic growth.
“However, in the face of declining population, there is a very real danger that some countries might consider policies that restrict access to reproductive health services, with potentially devastating consequences,” Murray cautioned.
“It is imperative that women’s freedom and rights are at the top of every government’s development agenda.”
And in order to accommodate much older populations, it would be imperative to overhaul social services and healthcare systems.
The study also forecast that the number of children under the age of five years will decrease by more than 40 per cent compared to the number of about 681 million in 2017 to 401 million in 2100 because of a drop in fertility and an increase in life expectancy worldwide.
“Societies will struggle to grow with fewer workers and taxpayers,” said Stein Emil Vollset, a professor at IHME.
For example, by the end of the century, the number of working people in China will fall to about 350 million compared to the 950 million currently, which would mark a 62 per cent drop.
The report predicted a much less drop in the working population for India, from 762 to 578 million.
In contrast, there will be a steep increase in the active labor force in Nigeria, from the current number of about 86 million to more than 450 million by 2100.
(Adapted from AlJazeera.com)