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World Population To Peak In 2064

Image via mauro mora on Unsplash

Plenty has been written over the years about the decline in fertility rates throughout many parts of the world.

Researchers at the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation are out with new research that shows the world's population may hit a grim milestone by 2100.

The researchers found that as a result of falling fertility rates—which is the average number of children a woman gives birth to, nearly every country in the world could have a declining population by the year 2100.

Once the fertility rate falls below 2.1, populations begin to decline. For context, the fertility rate was 4.7 in 1950 and had fallen all the way to 2.4 in 2017. The researchers predict that the fertility rate will decline to 1.7 by 2100.

They predict that 23 countries, such as Japan, Spain, South Korea and Thailand, will see their populations decline by roughly half by 2100 as a result of declining fertility rates.

The researchers predict the global population will peak at 9.7 billion around 2064, after which it will fall to 8.8 billion by 2100. They note that 183 out of 195 countries will have fertility rates below the 2.1 threshold by then.

"That's a pretty big thing; most of the world is transitioning into natural population decline," researcher Professor Christopher Murray told the BBC. "I think it's incredibly hard to think this through and recognize how big a thing this is; it's extraordinary, we'll have to reorganize societies."

China, which is the world's most populous country, will see its population peak in about four years at 1.4 billion before falling to 732 million by 2100. India is expected to take China's place as the world's most populous nation.

Japan, which has seen its aging population analyzed for years, will see its population fall to 53 million in 2100 after peaking at 128 million in 2017. Over the same period, Italy is expected to see its population fall from 61 million to 28 million.

The population of Africa is expected to triple in size by 2100 to more than three billion people, with Nigeria becoming the world's second-most populated country with 791 million people.

"We will have many more people of African descent in many more countries as we go through this," Murray said. "Global recognition of the challenges around racism are going to be all the more critical if there are large numbers of people of African descent in many countries."

The researchers believe the trend is largely driven by more women in education and the workforce, as well as greater access to contraception.

Just last week Reckitt Benckiser, the manufacturer of Durex condoms, said demand for the product has fallen as a result of the coronavirus.

"The number of intimate occasions is down in a few countries because, if you think of it, the level of socialization is low, and so it has had an impact on Durex."

Declining fertility rates is likely to become an increasingly hot topic in the years to come as it will lead to a "jaw-dropping" impact on societies, according to the researchers.

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