This could be good news in terms of the stress that humans place on the planet. Instead of peaking at up to 10.5 billion in 2050, this analyst, based on declining fertility rates, thinks human population could peak sooner and lower:
I write about this every now and then, because human fertility is falling faster then most demographers expect. Using the CIA Factbook for data, the present total fertility rate for the world is 2.47 births per woman that survives childbearing. Last year it was 2.50, and in 2006 it was 2.90. 2.10 is replacement rate. At the current trend, the world will be at replacement rate in 2022. That’s a lot earlier than most expect, and it makes me suggest that global population will top out at 8.5 Billion in 2030, lower and earlier than most expect.
Why are fertility rates declining faster than expected?
- Educating females makes many of them want to have fewer kids, whether the reason is pain, effort, wanting to work outside the home, etc.
- Contraception is more widely available.
- The marriage rate is declining globally. Willingness to have children is positively correlated with marriage.
- Governments provide an illusion of support, commonly believed, that the government can support people in their old age, so people don’t have kids for old age support.
So now you know what sorts of policies can make a difference.
Economists and demographers often bemoan declining populations. Anyone who cares about the future of Earth should applaud.