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“Standing still is the fastest way of moving backwards in a rapidly changing world.” Lauren Bacall

“If somebody describes the world of the mid-twenty-first century to you and it doesn’t sound like science fiction, it is certainly false. We cannot be sure of the specifics; change itself is the only certainty.” — Yuval Noah Harari

“The future will be far more surprising than most people realize.” Ray Kurzweil

“Countries need to learn to live with and adapt to decline.” Frank Swiaczny

It took more than 50,000 years for the world population to reach 1 billion people. Since 1960, we have added successive billions every one to two decades. The world population was 3 billion in 1960; it reached 6 billion around 2000, and the United Nations projects it will surpass 9 billion by 2037. The population growth rate has been slowing, however, from peak annual rates in excess of 2 percent in the late 1960s to about 1 percent currently, to half that by 2050.

This week, I’d like to look at a global problem. This problem, though only one among so many, is turning into an accelerating, tumbling snowball. It started out insignificantly small, almost unnoticeable. It appeared to be at first, an imminent problem for all humanity, and then it turned on its head. It reversed overnight. Before we knew it, we were faced with an even bigger problem, a dilemma of gargantuan proportions, exactly opposite of what we all perceived as the cardinal one.

The problem of which I speak is the issue of global demographic transition. For many years we have all been warned of the dangers and perils of global over-population. To many midcentury demographers, futurists, and science fiction writers, an overpopulated world was certainly predicted… Extending the timeline, they saw a nightmarish future ahead for humanity: human civilizations constantly on the brink of starvation, desperately crowded under horrendous conditions, draconian population control laws imposed worldwide. 

Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich wrote in his best-selling 1968 book, The Population Bomb, “In the 1970s, hundreds of millions of people will starve to death” because of overpopulation. (Later editions modified the sentence to read “In the 1980s.”) 

In 2021, global overpopulation is no longer considered a significant issue by global demographers and scientists. The crisis du jour is the rapid demographic shift  —the movement from high to low death rates followed by a corresponding movement in birth rates, to global decreasing population rates.

I want to discuss this week and next, how we got here and what trends we might expect in the next 30 to 50 years, trends which will not only impact many of us, but also our children, and their children. There is one thing of which we can be certain, there is far more than meets the eye to this approaching crisis.


All over the world, countries are confronting population stagnation and a fertility bust, a dizzying reversal, unmatched in recorded history that will make first-birthday parties a rarer sight than funerals, and empty homes a common eyesore.

Realities and trends projected by global leading demographers:

  1. There is an especially sharp decline in population for China, with its population expected to fall from 1.41 billion to about 730 million in 2100. If that happens, the population pyramid will essentially flip. Instead of a base of young workers supporting a narrower band of retirees, China would have as many 85-year-olds as 18-year-olds.
  2. According to projections by an international team of scientists published last year in “The Lancet,” 183 countries and territories — out of 195 — will have fertility rates below replacement level by 2100. Some projects move that target closer to 2050. 
  3. Deputy Prime Minister of South Korea, Hong Nam-ki admitted that the government — which has spent more than $178 billion over the past 15 years encouraging women to have more babies — was not making any significant progress. 
  4. The United States’ 2020 census confirmed a historic shift: the population is growing at its slowest-ever rate, apart from the years of the Great Depression. 
  5. The global population is growing more slowly and will stabilize this century. Between 1950 and 2018, the average annual population growth was 1.6%. Yet, right now it is 1%. It will decline gradually over the course of this century and by 2100, it will be almost zero. The population of the earth will stabilize at around 11 billion.
  6. We are getting older. The share of the population over age 65 will rise from 5% in 1950 to 15% in 2050 to a quarter of the planet’s population by 2100. The year 2018 marked an epochal demographic turning point: Earth became home to more people aged 65 years and older than children under five, for the first time ever. 
  7. Around, 50% of the world’s population growth between now and 2050 is expected to come from Africa. 
  8. For most of human history, the average person lived about 30 years. But between 1950 and 2020, life expectancy increased from 46 to 73 years, and it is projected to increase by another four years by 2050. Moreover, by 2050, life expectancy is projected to exceed 80 years in at least 91 countries and territories that will then be home to 39 percent of the world’s population. Increased longevity is a colossal human achievement that reflects improvements in survival prospects throughout the life cycle, but especially among infants and children. 

What are some of the pressing issues concerning decreasing populations in the world today?

  1. The main centers of continued population transitions are in the Indian subcontinent and Sub-Saharan Africa. Of these, SSA will account for over a quarter of total population growth for the rest of this century. The portion of the world living in high-income countries will fall from 32% in 1950 to 10% by 2050. Half of the global population growth between now and 2050 is expected to come from just nine countries: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Indonesia, Egypt, and the United States of America (in descending order of increase). The population of sub-Saharan Africa is likely to double, while the population of Europe is likely to shrink.
  2. By 2025 there are going to be one billion more people on the planet, 300 million of which will be people aged over 65. However, there will be significant regional and country differences. 
  3. Among the older population, the group aged 85+ is growing especially fast and is projected to surpass half a billion in the next 80 years. This trend is significant because the needs and capacities of the 85+ crowd tend to differ significantly from those of 65-to-84-year-olds. 
  4. A steadily aging population is slowly shifting the purchasing power to older households. In Japan, for example, half of all current household spending comes from people over 60, compared with 13% of spending from people under 40. 
  5. Christians are declining as a share of the U.S. population, and the number of U.S. adults who do not identify with any organized religion has grown. While the U.S. remains home to more Christians than any other country, the percentage of Americans identifying as Christian dropped from 78% in 2007 to 71% in 2014. By contrast, the religiously unaffiliated have surged seven percentage points in that time span to make up 23% of U.S. adults last year. This trend has been driven in large part by Millennials, 35% of whom are religious “nones.” The rise of the “nones” is not a story unique to the U.S.: The unaffiliated are now the second-largest religious group in 48% of the world’s nations. Americans are well aware of this shift: 72% say religion’s influence on public life is waning, and most who say this, see it as a bad thing. Christians are having fewer children in the developed world, while Muslims and Hindus are having significantly more biological growth than the Western world.

These are just a few of the significant realities and trends concerning the global shrinking of its human population. Next week we will look at the deeper implications, not merely economically, but in terms of their international security implications as well.


First of all, I did my dead level best to dispute the facts that were being bantered around in the demographic research literature. I have done my due diligence with research on this article. The evidence is pretty solid and quite credible and certain.

With this strong trending information in our hands, there is a lot of predictive analysis that can be done. There are some implications that can lead us to positive conclusions, and not from only a doomsday position. There are several positive ways this can be approached, if one is willing to look at the trends as ways to pose our future, rather than as yet another reason to wring our hands and sigh.


These countries and businesses must cement economic gains by boosting productivity, taking steps to increase labor force participation, adopt fiscally sustainable old-age support systems, and adjust to the trending demographic changes. 

In a sense, we must all become futurists. The world is moving at such an accelerated pace that we can no longer implement a planning cycle that encompasses only a year or two. All of us need to determine what we need to do now, considering what the trends are indicating 20 years from now. Even at 20 years out, we might be taking a short-sighted view of what is actually happening around us.

The follow-up.

The 1600’s: The Worst Century in History…

Russian Diplomat Says Hundreds Of Soldiers Heading To C.A.R. Are Instructors…

The feed-back.

For your comments or questions about any of our digests please feel free to write to me at:


World Bank (2016) Global Monitoring Report 2015/2016: Development Goals in an Era of Demographic Change.

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