Will the world RUN OUT of people?

Book claims global population will start to decline in 30 years despite UN predictions – and says once it does ‘it will never end’
There are 7.7 billion people living on Earth, expected to climb to 9 billion by 2050
Book says population will start to drop in roughly 30 years and steadily decline
Authors say improvements in women’s education worldwide will have big impact
This and other factors will cause many people to choose not to have children


PUBLISHED: 14:50 EST, 4 February 2019 | UPDATED: 16:52 EST, 4 February 2019

Earth’s predicted overpopulation crisis might not be as dire as we’ve thought – instead, a new book argues our numbers will soon start plummeting.

The United Nations has long warned that the world’s population is fast approaching a point at which Earth’s resources may not be able to support humanity.

There are currently 7.7 billion people living on the planet, and this is expected to climb to 9 billion by 2050.

But, Canadian journalist John Ibbitson and political scientist Darrell Bricker have found that these predictions may have missed the mark completely.

In Empty Planet, the pair re-examines the forecasting models to conclude that global population will start dropping in about 30 years, and warn ‘once that decline begins, it will never end.’

Earth’s predicted overpopulation crisis might not be as dire as we’ve thought – instead, a new book argues our numbers will soon start plummeting.
Earth’s predicted overpopulation crisis might not be as dire as we’ve thought – instead, a new book argues our numbers will soon start plummeting.

A 2017 survey of 50 Nobel laureates asked: ‘What is the biggest threat to humankind, in your view? They said:

Population rise/environmental degradation (34%, 18 respondents)
Nuclear war (23%, 12 respondents)
Infectious disease/drug resistance (8%, 4 respondents)
Selfishness/dishonesty/loss of humanity (8%, 4 respondents)
Donald Trump/ignorant leaders (6%, 3 respondents)
Artificial Intelligence (4%, 2 respondents)
Inequality (4%, 2 respondents)
Drugs (2%, 1 respondent)
Facebook (2%, 1 respondent)
Fundamentalism/terrorism (6%, 3 respondents)
Ignorance/distortion of truth (6%, 3 respondents
Empty Planet upends the long-held assumptions about global population, using statistics and interviews with people all around the world to paint a fuller picture of the issue.

The UN forecasts rely on fertility rates, migration rates, and death rates, the authors explain in an interview with Wired.

But, other factors such as urbanization speed and the expansion of women’s education have been left out.

Much of Africa, in particular, is experiencing both of these things.

Taking improvements in female education into account causes the estimates to drop to 8-9 billion for the year 2100, from the currently predicted 11 billion, according to the researchers.

‘And that’s just one cultural variable,’ Bricker told Wired.

‘So you can say that the old models always worked in the past, but what if the past is not prologue?

‘What if we’re moving into a different cultural moment? What if it’s accelerating? And what if that cultural moment really is about the personal decisions women make about their lives?’

The team polled 26 countries to get a better idea of family plans around the world, and found that many people are choosing smaller families.

Soon enough, the authors say, the number of young people will dwindle.

‘A lot of people who are thinking about the future of the world, the future economy, the future of city planning, they’re basing their projections on that future size of the human population,’ Bricker told Wired.

‘And people are actually making decisions based on this.

‘If you dig in and see that there isn’t going to be a lot of growth of young people coming into the population, a lot of growth is actually going to come from older people hanging around longer because we’re getting better every day at keeping them alive.’

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