Monday, April 19, 2004

There's good news....

Which Nations Will Go Forth and Multiply?
When asked how long it will take for the world's population to double, nearly half of all Americans say 20 years or less. That's hardly surprising, given the crowding many of us encounter in everyday life and the reports we hear of teeming Third World megacities. Yet forecasts by the United Nations and others show that world population, currently at a little over six billion, is unlikely to double—ever. Indeed, demographers at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, a nongovernmental research organization in Laxenburg, Austria, predict that world population will peak at nine billion within the lifetime of today's Gen Xers and then start shrinking. Meanwhile, the average age of the world's citizens will advance dramatically. This aging will happen fastest not in the developed world, where we are used to fretting about the graying of society, but, astonishingly, in the Middle East and other underdeveloped regions. By the end of this century, even sub-Saharan Africa will probably grow older than Europe is today.

These predictions come with considerable certainty. The primary reason, confirmed in late March by a U.S. Census Bureau report, is a fall in fertility rates over the last generation that is spreading to every corner of the globe. In nations rich and poor, under all forms of government, a broad social trend is absolutely clear: As more and more of the population moves to urban areas in which children offer little or no economic reward to their parents, and as women gain in economic opportunity and reproductive control, people are producing fewer and fewer children.
Of course the bad news is that they'll all be in the USA to fill those "jobs no American will do" and take advantage of free medical care and schooling. Hmmm, maybe they would like Europe better? More seriously, hit the link for the factual details and make what you can of the philosophizing at the end.