Overpopulation and the dropping fertility rate

Image credit: Izumo Taisha by Freedom II Andres (https://flic.kr/p/b5ZFAg)

Overpopulation is no longer something to worry about in the world. Surprisingly, the opposite is now a concern. Falling birth rates are a huge concern in most of the developed world now.

Our world population is expected to peak at 10 billion, mainly fueled by growth in Africa, but numbers show that after that it will drop steadily.
Most families all over the world already dropped to having 1 or 2 children on average, with much of the modern world’s fertility rate already being below the replacement rate of 2.1 children per male/female couple. This means that without some other strategy, the population will drop in these countries. (See OVERPOPULATED — BBC Documentary)

The challenge at a macro scale is that a country needs a population pyramid with a wide base of young people who are working and paying taxes with a narrow top of old people who spend a lot taking their pension and health care and cost the country money without contributing as much taxes as the younger working class. So in order to solve this issue, many countries have to resort to immigration or to incentivize having children.

For example, Denmark’s birthrate is at a 27 year low. They created an ad campaign “do it for Denmark”
In South Korea, government offices turn off their lights at 7:30 and gave cash gifts and incentives to their employees to have more children.
in Russia, September 12 is national conception day. Whoever has a baby 9 months later will receive prizes — money, cars, refrigerators etc
In Italy, there’s a small town who offers €2,000 ‘baby bonus’ have more children.
In France expanded childcare options, baby bonuses and other measures have been credited for increasing their birth rates, If you have 3 or more kids you get discounts across France on many things like train fares to movie tickets.
Canada gives significant child tax benefits as well.
Even China who had their infamous one-child policy is now considering introducing birth rewards

This is why most of the modern world has immigration. It is to replace the population that has been lost from the falling birthrates. The challenge is that many countries do not like immigration. Japan is a famous example that is a very closed society. There are worries that if they do not change their policies, Japanese people may go extinct! Due to longer lifespans and an inverted population pyramid, their health care costs are already higher than their GDP! Immigration can also be a challenge as too large an influx of immigrants at once can destabilize the existing social norms of a society. Selective immigration can be very helpful for a country because it is an excellent source of skilled labour. Countries will need to find creative ways to support their ageing populations as birthrates continue declining.

sources:
- http://mentalfloss.com/article/33485/6-creative-ways-countries-have-tried-their-birth-rates
- https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/28/china-considers-paying-couples-to-have-a-second-child

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Husband, dad to five, tech enthusiast. Former Conservative Muslim. www.abdullahsameer.com

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