Changing global demographics

Gone, now far away (1805), the shadow of Robert Malthus who predicted the worst for the increase in world population, in a mad race that would only be stopped by food shortages. Along the same apocalyptic lines, the US biologist Paul R. Ehrlich, from Stanford University, published his work with neo-Malthusian echoes “The Population Bomb” in 1968, in which he stated: “The battle for nutrition of humanity is already lost. During the 70s of the 20th century, hundreds of millions of human beings will die of hunger.”

Ehrlich’s catastrophism did not occur. Apart from the fact that the average fertility rate (FMR) – children per woman throughout life – began to plummet, due to the desire of many millions of women in the most developed world to reduce or not have children. And so things were, in all the most developed countries, the MFR fell below 2.1, the “replacement turn” to maintain the population in the long term: many countries began to have less population.

On November 15, 2022, when according to the United Nations the number of inhabitants of planet Earth reached 8 billion, the forecast was that in 2065 we would be at the top of 10 billion people. But in a more refined analysis, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, in Vienna, specified that in 2100 we will be well below 10 billion; because there are many millions of human couples who currently no longer want any children for a multitude of economic and social reasons. This is the case, very markedly, in South Korea, where the MFR has stood at 0.7 children per woman.

In any case, by 2100 the most pathetic case would be that of Popular China, today with 1.4 billion inhabitants that could have less than 1,000 at the end of the century.

We will have to return to the difficult issue of the almost incredible contraction of the world population, in an attitude sometimes of millennial terror.