Global population to decline for the first time in centuries

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Photo by ANIRUDH via Unsplash.com

A photo examining the population via light utilization in the dark night.

Alex Hunter, Copy Editor

The global population is set to hit its peak by 2070. Prior decades indicating societal growth in numbers have represented steady fertility rates and a drive for reproduction. Well “the times they are a-changin’” Bob Dylan might say as the population is projected to decline in the coming decades. 

The expected drop in the population is not a conspiracy or a coincidence, though; there is clear evidence supporting the rapid decline in fertility rates in America in recent decades. 

An article about fertility deviation over the last 70 years examined the issue. “In 1950, women were having an average of 4.7 children in their lifetime. Researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation showed the global fertility rate nearly halved to 2.4 in 2017 – and their study, published in the Lancet, projects it will fall below 1.7 by 2100,” it said. 

How does this reflect the morals and standards of Gen Z? Younger generations, Millenials and Gen Z, have slowed their emulation of traditional behaviors, such as having children. There are a plethora of reasons for younger people not having children; concerns regarding instability in the climate and economy, lack of finances, time management and work are among the long list of them.

A website demonstrated the slower reproduction rate in adolescent generations. In the past, women were expected to bear children. Recently, reproduction has become more of a choice. The norms behind having kids have shifted, and society has become more comfortable not feeling forced to decide.

Senior Caroline Sierk attributed her awareness of external factors to her perspective on reproducing. “I love working with kids and watching them explore who they can be in our massive world. However, biological parenthood is certainly not the only way to be a leading figure in a young life and not the only option I plan to consider,” she said.

Although Gen Z’s lack of compliance with societal expectations plays a major role in the declining global population, many have wondered how this shift pertains to them.  

The demographic forces pushing more towards deaths than births will ease pressure on the climate, resource consumption and household burdens, but the evolutionary change will come with some hard-to-accept challenges.

The ramifications have already started to appear in Asia and Europe; government and societal reform have begun as the population of the elderly will outweigh young people. In a New York Times publication, the regression of normality was shown. “It may also require a reconceptualization of family and nation. Imagine entire regions where everyone is 70 or older. Imagine governments laying out huge bonuses for immigrants and mothers with lots of children. Imagine a gig economy filled with grandparents and Super Bowl ads promoting procreation,” it said. 

The global population decline will have profound effects on the world and will mark yet another historical milestone younger generations will endure in their lifetime.