For generations and especially the past decades the Anglo world along with UN Population Division, ZPG Zero Population Growth, Club of Rome, FAIR/CIS, Population Matters UK and Sustainable Population Australia, have highlighted and stressed population growth as the issue of the times, even to the point of describing it as ‘exponential’. However, the movement has too many links with the eugenics movement or white nationalism and misrepresents research and data e.g. claiming overly high fertility rates, focusing upon now and ignoring future (lower) forecasts based on good analysis.
The following articles touch on how The Lancet has debunked the UN Population Division’s alarmism on fertility rates and global population, then followed with Abul Rizvi comparing the impacts of population, low fertility and immigration on Australia, with Japan.
- An international study in The Lancet predicted a world population of 8.8 billion by the end of the century as fertility rates decline
- China’s population is expected to fall to 780 million. Geopolitical power will shift to China, India, Nigeria and the United States
Earth will be home to 8.8 billion souls in 2100, 2 billion fewer than current UN projections, according to a major study published on Wednesday that foresees new global power alignments shaped by declining fertility rates and greying populations.
By century’s end, 183 of 195 countries – barring an influx of immigrants – will have fallen below the replacement threshold needed to maintain population levels, an international team of researchers reported in The Lancet.
More than 20 countries – including Japan, Spain, Italy, Thailand, Portugal, South Korea and Poland – will see their numbers diminish by at least half.
China’s will fall nearly that much, from 1.4 billion people today to 730 million in 80 years.
Sub-Saharan Africa, meanwhile, will triple in size to some 3 billion people, with Nigeria alone expanding to almost 800 million in 2100, second only to India’s 1.1 billion.
“These forecasts suggest good news for the environment, with less stress on food production systems and lower carbon emissions, as well as significant economic opportunity for parts of Sub-Saharan Africa,” said lead author Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.
“However, most countries outside of Africa will see shrinking workforces and inverting population pyramids, which will have profound negative consequences for the economy.”
Abul Rizvi 19 June 2020
Australia and Japan are demographic polar opposites.
While Australia boosted immigration to slow its rate of ageing from around the Year 2000, Japan maintained very low levels of immigration. Combined with lower fertility, low immigration has led to Japan ageing quickly. Its working age to population (WAP) ratio has fallen almost 10 percentage points since this peaked around 1990. Australia’s WAP ratio over the same period declined only marginally (see Chart 1).
Japan’s working age population fell by 10.5 million between 1990 and 2018 while Australia’s working age population increased 4.9 million.
The last available estimate of the portion of foreign born in Japan was 1.02% in 2001, one of the lowest in the developed world. That compared to Australia at 23.0% in 2001 and 29.6% in 2019, one of the highest in the developed world.
The median age in Japan in 2017 had increased to 46.7, one of the highest in the developed world, compared to Australia’s 37.5, one of the lowest in the developed world.
In 1990, the 65+ population in Japan was 12.1% while Australia’s was 11.1%, a difference of 2%. By 2018, Japan’s 65+ population had increased to 28.1% while Australia’s was 15.7%, a staggering difference of 12.4%.
While there are many factors impacting different economies, the extent of demographic difference between Japan and Australia will tend to highlight any differential impact from population ageing.
Japan entered its demographic burden phase (ie WAP ratio in decline) almost two decades earlier than Australia which entered its demographic burden phase from 2009. All things equal, Australia’s economy should have performed more strongly than Japan’s from 1990 onwards. As Australia has aged much less since 2009, it should have maintained that advantage, including in per capita terms….
……The pressure for Japan to get its immigration settings right will continue to grow as its rate of ageing again accelerates after 2030 and its rate of population decline continues accelerating.
While Australia moved early to use immigration to slow the rate of ageing, Japan is moving very late – perhaps too late to prevent a rapid decline in living standards associated with resumption of rapid ageing and decline.
But Australia will also now age rapidly over the next 10-20 years with the likelihood of further decline in its fertility rate as well as lower net overseas migration under current policy settings after international borders are opened. This is projected at almost 100,000 per annum less than forecast in the 2019 Budget.’