Last edited August 9, 2017
To bring about a halt to the growth of the world population, about 30 and more years ago, the promoters of population control called for Zero-Population Growth. ZPG requires a total fertility rate of 2.2 children per average woman of fertile age in a given country. Total fertility rates of less than 2.2 are indicators of population decline, in effect not of Zero-population growth but of negative population growth, of a reduction in population.
In 2007 there were 117 countries (all of the developed nations amongst them), in 2014 there were 122 out of 123, and in 2016 there were 127 out of 226 countries that had total fertility rates of 2.2 or less.
Countries with total fertility rates of less than 2.2 experience declining population numbers, the more, the lower their total fertility rates. Nations with total fertility rates of about one are designated 4-2-1 countries, countries in whom one worker needs to support two non-productive parents and four non-productive grandparents.
More and more nations have declining total fertility rates that cause them to expect population reductions of 30 percent or more with every successive generation, with population shortfalls to varying extents compensated for through legal and illegal immigration from lesser-developed and underdeveloped nations (e. g.: in Sweden, France, Germany and other European nations through immigration from Islamic nations, in Canada through immigration from Asia, Africa and South-East Asia, and in the USA mainly through illegal immigration from Mexico and Central America).
The desired objective, the reduction of the world population to between 300 million and a billion people is a few generations off, perhaps 150 or few more years in all.
Incongruously, the drive to reduce the world population comes from the perception that the world is overpopulated. That perception is the motivator for the intensification of programs for population control in the developing nations. Those programs are being funded and promoted with money from the developed nations (whose populations are already beginning to die out), through agencies such as UNFPA (United Nations Fund for Population Activities), USAID (United States Agency for International Development), IMF (International Monetary Fund), World Bank, WHO (World Health Organization), and the United Nations Population Division.
REPLACEMENT MIGRATION: IS IT A SOLUTION TO DECLINING AND AGEING POPULATION?
United Nations Population Division
(The report is massive, as is the related collection of documents, but the report is very well-indexed and easy to navigate.)
In the face of wide-spread and escalating population decline, it is difficult to imagine what will constitute a developed nation, in 2150, as by then there will be insufficient numbers of people left that are able to keep nations operational through the methods we have become accustomed to. The collapse of social safety nets (pension plans, Old-Age Security, Employment Insurance, Welfare and Health-care Systems) and of the infrastructure (utility-, sewer-, road-, rail- and airline-networks, buildings, even bridges) will become unavoidable. There will simply not be enough people working anymore to be able to pay the taxes required — let alone do the work needed — to maintain them.
The developed nations increasingly suffer from shortages of workers, engineers and other skilled professionals. Nevertheless, or perhaps on account of that, efforts to mechanize work processes are progressing inexorably (e. g.: brick laying, the fast-food industry, programming, engineering, medical professions, even lawyers). Still, it is becoming more and more difficult to obtain a neighbourhood handyman to fix a plumbing problem, to get someone to shovel snow off a sidewalk, to have a lawn cut or to have a broken lock on a door replaced. Not everything can be automated. We can’t all sit on our hands. Some of us must work so that we, and others other who don’t or can’t work, can live. We better hope and make sure that the hands needed to do the helping were taught to become skilled and willing to help.
With more and more people becoming convinced that “the government” owes them a living, while the working population sector is steadily shrinking but saddled with an increasingly larger burden to do all it can to provide the necessities of life for others, having nothing to look forward to but even fewer people to care for them when they become old and feeble, will the people of the developed nations get a chance to grow old in comfort and to vanish in peace? Will there be someone left to turn off the lights?
Originally published Jan 2008
Revised in 2008 and 2017, to insert more information on changing, and on UN objectives for, world population trends and their consequences.