The BBC published a report this week on the world’s declining population that found fertility rates have fallen precipitously in the world over the last 70 years.
In 1950 for example, women here having an average of 4.7 children. By 2017, that had dropped to 2.4 children per woman. By 2100 it’s expected to fall below 1.7.
If those numbers hold true, Earth’s population will peak at 9.7 billion around 2064 before falling down to 8.8 billion by the end of the century.
The study projects that “under-fives” will fall from 681 million in 2017 to 401 million in 2100. The number of 80-year-olds will increase staggeringly from 141 million in 2017 to 866 million in 2100.
“It will create enormous social change. It makes me worried because I have an eight-year-old daughter and I wonder what the world will be like,” researcher and professor Christopher Murray told the BBC.
“Who pays tax in a massively aged world? Who pays for healthcare for the elderly? Who looks after the elderly? Will people still be able to retire from work? We need a soft landing,” he says.
“If you can’t [find a solution] then eventually the species disappears, but that’s a few centuries away.” Murray adds dramatically.
Experts tell the BBC that the only solution to this problem is open borders and massive migration between countries all over the world. The fate of the human race may depend on it, they say.
“We will go from the period where it’s a choice to open borders, or not, to frank competition for migrants, as there won’t be enough,” says Prof Murray.
Prof Ibrahim Abubakar, University College London (UCL), said “If these predictions are even half accurate, migration will become a necessity for all nations and not an option.
“To be successful we need a fundamental rethink of global politics.”
“The distribution of working-age populations will be crucial to whether humanity prospers or withers.”
Photo by Michelle Daigle