Why the world's population is set to decline this century

For the first time in centuries, the world's total population is set to decline and—no—it has nothing to do with the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a study published in the Lancet, fewer people are having kids than ever before! And though that might not sound like such a bad thing for those of you out there who aren't too fond of children, this also means that the world population will be declining for the first time in centuries!

A significant drop in numbers

The research authored by Professor of Global Health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), Stein Emil Vollset, says that the world's population will be at its highest at 9.7 billion inhabitants. Following this, it will be on a steady decline and drop to about 8.8 million inhabitants by the year 2100—that's less than 80 years away! The lead author explained:

The last time that global population declined was in the mid 14th century, due to the Black Plague. If our forecast is correct, it will be the first time population decline is driven by fertility decline, as opposed to events such as a pandemic or famine.

In other words, the latest pandemic to have heavily hit the world—the coronavirus pandemic—will finally not be the root cause of a major shift in the world.

The predictions from the expert extend to 27 countries around the world, which will see a significant decline in the number of inhabitants. Interestingly, this includes densely populated countries such as South Korea and China. The latter is expected to fall from 1.4 billion people in 2017 to 732 million in 2100.

What is the cause?

The reason for this steady decline is due to the fact that more people have access to contraception and are far more education on unwanted pregnancies than ever before. Dr. Vollset said:

The global total fertility rate is predicted to steadily decline, from 2.37 in 2017 to 1.66 in 2100, well below the minimum rate (2.1 live births per woman) considered necessary to maintain population numbers.
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