(LifeSiteNews) — The population “bomb” has turned out to be a dud.
We’ve known for decades that Europe and North America were dying and that China was committing demographic suicide by embarking upon a one-child policy. Then, over the past quarter century most of the rest of the world – including Latin America and the rest of Asia – quickly followed.
Still, birthrates in Sub-Saharan Africa remained high, and the population bombers seized upon this to justify their continuing war on people. This motley collection of money-hungry population controllers, radical environmentalists, and anti-natal feminists pointed to high birth rates in places like Nigeria to claim that we needed to continue to abort, sterilize, and contracept the world.
Their fundraising pitch was simple. Unless you want another two billion or so Africans on the planet, they said, you must continue to pour billions into our programs. The implicit racism was palpable.
The only problem with their pitch was that the birth rate, even on that continent, was falling farther and faster than anyone had ever imagined it would. Even the most hyperbolic of overpopulation prognosticators is starting to tone down the rhetoric.
Take the Club of Rome. It wasn’t that long ago that this Masonic group, based in the Italian capital, was warning that the end was near. Out-of-control population growth and resource consumption would lead to economic collapse within a few decades, it predicted in its best-selling 1972 book, “The Limits to Growth.”
Now the Club of Rome is suggesting that the population bomb may never go off. It even admits that sub-Saharan Africa’s population may peak as soon as 2060, and then begin to decline, following the rest of the world into demographic senescence — aging and dying.
The U.N., on the other hand, is not quite ready to give up its lucrative population control business. In part this is because the Globalists in charge would welcome a drastic reduction in the world’s population. In part this is because the U.N.’s population control agency, the UNFPA, has for decades raised huge sums of money off the myth of overpopulation. If it reported accurately on the new numbers, its fundraising would dry up.
But even the U.N.’s population projections are gradually – grudgingly – coming down to reflect this new reality. Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria, has long been held up as the ugly poster child of out-of-control population growth. A decade ago, the U.N. was predicting that Nigeria’s population would reach 900 million by the year 2100. Its latest estimates slash 350 million from this number — and they are still too high. In all likelihood the country’s population of 213 million will double by 2060, and then begin to decline.
The Economist, which has published its share of overpopulation hype over the years, recently ran a story criticizing the U.N.’s latest projections as “not be keeping pace with the rapid decline in fertility rates.” The average number of children that women are expected to have is falling rapidly, as a number of recent surveys show.
Write The Economist,
Most remarkable is Nigeria, where a UN-backed survey in 2021 found the fertility rate had fallen to 4.6 from 5.8 just five years earlier. This figure seems to be broadly confirmed by another survey, this time backed by USAID, America’s aid agency, which found a fertility rate of 4.8 in 2021, down from 6.1 in 2010.
A similar trend seems to be emerging in parts of the Sahel, which still has some of Africa’s highest fertility rates, and coastal west Africa. In Mali, for instance, the fertility rate fell from 6.3 to a still high 5.7 in six years. Senegal’s, at 3.9 in 2021, equates to one fewer baby per woman than little over a decade ago. So too in the Gambia, where the rate plunged from 5.6 in 2013 to 4.4 in 2020, and Ghana, where it fell from 4.2 to 3.8 in just three years.
What is happening is really no mystery. West Africa is following the same well-worn path that the rest of the world followed, going through its own “demographic transition” from high birth rates to low birth rates. There was never any reason to expect that African parents would behave differently than European, Asian, or Latin American parents did. Once infant and child mortality rates began to fall – as they have in Africa in recent decades – parents naturally choose to have fewer children.
As PRI has been saying for some time now, the world’s population is going to peak around 2050 at something under 9 billion.
What happens to the world’s population after 2050 depends on the fertility decisions of those not yet born, and is impossible to accurately predict. But all of the current trends point downward. Women around the world were averaging 5.00 children in 1970. This had fallen to 2.6 by 2002 – not far above replacement rate fertility of 2.3 – and it is projected to drop to 1.54 children per woman by the year 2050.
But who’s to say that it will stop there? Shaped by powerful, if partially hidden, economic, political and cultural forces, the one-child family appears well on the way to becoming a universal norm in many countries. Pockets of higher fertility, driven by religious motivations and traditional values, will still exist. But, as in present-day Japan or Germany, most families will stop at one. The number of the aged will skyrocket, and the world’s population will be in free fall.
This is the real population problem.
Steven W. Mosher is the President of the Population Research Institute and the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Pandemics.