Vishal Gulati

The World May Soon Has The Opposite Type of People Problem

August 12, 2015

The United Nations has issues new projections of human population growth and it is not zooming fast. At least not as fast as it has grown in the last 100 years (there were 1b humans in 1850 and in 2015 there are 7.5b!). The speed is slowing but there is still a lot of momentum left (eloquently described by the FT to be like an “elephant on an ice rink”). Estimates for 2050 are 9.7b and 2100 of 11.2b! And there is a 23% chance that this will lead to a permanent flattening of the growth curve.

But the change is significant and should finally offer relief to Malthusians who are still among us that population growth is not the enemy.

Key take home messages:

  • 83 Countries Worldwide (currently home to nearly half the world’s population are now growing below replacement rate of 2.1 births per woman (this includes every single EU country)
  • Only 9% of world’s population, mainly in Africa is responsible for a 4-5 births per woman
  • Iran’s birth rate has fallen well below replacement levels after a successful birth control programme (not something I expected)
  • Birth rates in Mexico, the main provider of young men as cheap labour to USA have fallen rapidly and it may no longer be able to oblige
  • Birth rates may fall to replacement levels even in India by 2045

I hope anti-immigration politicians should take note, getting people to have more children may be the only option.

For the past 200 years the global population has risen explosively. There were 1bn humans in 1850. There are 7.3bn today. Ever since the Industrial Revolution, humanity has lived in quiet dread that somewhere there is a limit, and the Malthusian

Source: The end of the Malthusian nightmare – FT.com