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World Underpopulation Problem

  1. Apr 28, 2004 #1
    With so much attention being paid to the world being overpopulated, it seems no one is paying any attention to countries that are becoming underpopulated and is either decreasing or set to decrease in population. It is well hypothesized that a population must maintain a 2.1 children per woman ratio in order to acheive zero growth without immigration.

    Here's a list of countries that are either decreasing in population or will decrease in population, if current birthrate is continued.

    List of countries:

    1. Bulgaria 1.13 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    2. Czech Republic 1.18 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    3. Latvia 1.2 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    4. Singapore 1.24 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    5. Hungary 1.25 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    6. Slovakia 1.25 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    7. Spain 1.26 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    8. Italy 1.26 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    9. Slovenia 1.27 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    10. Andorra 1.27 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    11. Estonia 1.27 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    12. San Marino 1.31 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    13. Macau 1.32 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    14. Hong Kong 1.32 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    15. Russia 1.33 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    16. Belarus 1.34 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    17. Ukraine 1.34 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    18. Greece 1.35 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    19. Romania 1.36 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    20. Guernsey 1.37 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    21. Germany 1.37 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    22. Poland 1.37 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    23. Japan 1.38 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    24. Austria 1.41 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    25. Lithuania 1.43 children born/woman (2003 est.)

    26. Switzerland 1.48 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    27. Portugal 1.49 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    28. Liechtenstein 1.5 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    29. Georgia 1.51 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    30. Sweden 1.54 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    31. Saint Helena 1.54 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    32. Korea, South 1.56 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    33. Armenia 1.56 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    34. Jersey 1.57 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    35. Taiwan 1.57 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    36. Cuba 1.61 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    37. Canada 1.61 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    38. Belgium 1.62 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    39. Gibraltar 1.65 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    40. Barbados 1.65 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    41. Man, Isle of 1.65 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    42. Netherlands 1.65 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    43. United Kingdom 1.66 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    44. Luxembourg 1.7 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    45. Finland 1.7 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    46. China 1.7 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    47. Bosnia and Herzegovina 1.71 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    48. British Virgin Islands 1.72 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    49. Denmark 1.73 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    50. Moldova 1.74 children born/woman (2003 est.)

    51. Macedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of 1.75 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    52. Northern Mariana Islands 1.75 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    53. Anguilla 1.76 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    54. Monaco 1.76 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    55. Australia 1.76 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    56. Serbia and Montenegro 1.77 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    57. Trinidad and Tobago 1.78 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    58. Seychelles 1.79 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    59. New Zealand 1.79 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    60. Aruba 1.79 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    61. Martinique 1.79 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    62. Montserrat 1.8 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    63. Norway 1.8 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    64. France 1.85 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    65. Cyprus 1.88 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    66. Ireland 1.89 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    67. Bermuda 1.9 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    68. Tunisia 1.9 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    69. Sri Lanka 1.9 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    70. Malta 1.91 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    71. Cayman Islands 1.91 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    72. Thailand 1.91 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    73. Guadeloupe 1.92 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    74. Croatia 1.93 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    75. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1.95 children born/woman (2003 est.)

    76. Lebanon 1.98 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    77. Iceland 1.98 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    78. Mauritius 1.98 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    79. Iran 1.99 children born/woman (2003 est.)
    80. Dominica 1.99 children born/woman (2003 est.)

    Source: CIA World Factbook 2003
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 28, 2004 #2
    Interesting article on this.

    The World's Declining Fertility Rate

    In just the last four years, the United Nations has reduced its global population projection for 2050 by nearly one billion people. Other demographers expect that in the next few years the organization will be forced to lower its projections by yet another billion.

    * The 2050 projection has gone from the 1994 estimate of 9.8 billion to this year's estimate of 8.9 billion.

    * The current world population is about 6 billion people.

    * Over the past 30 years, the average number of children born to women in the less-developed countries has fallen from 6.2 to 3.0 -- a decline of record-breaking speed.

    * Although a fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman is needed just to replace current population, in Europe the fertility rate has dropped to 1.42 and in Japan to 1.43.

    Spain has the world's lowest fertility rate -- at 1.15. Experts predict Europe will lose at least 100 million people by mid-century.

    Due to immigration, the U.S. rate has gone from an average of 1.9 over the past quarter of a century to 2.0 now.

    Experts say that never have fertility rates fallen so far, so low, so fast, for so long, all over the world. The numbers don't often make headlines, however, because they run counter to the arguments of some special interests -- "global warming" alarmists, for example

    Source: http://www.ncpa.org/pi/internat/oct98m.html
  4. Apr 28, 2004 #3


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    this is interesting
    and somewhat serves to stimulate hope that world population
    might level off at some level where some wild environment could be left

    polar ice
    coral reef
    ordinary temperate wilderness areas
    fishing grounds
    beautiful animals like the tiger and the whale

    but even with 6 billion humans the planet is already taking a beating

    In any case you have done us a service by copying in this list.
    Is there an online CIA factbook or did you have to type it in by hand?
    thanks, either way!

    EDIT I went looking and found a link to the factbook:
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2004
  5. Apr 28, 2004 #4
    I did copy and paste this list but it wouldn't be unusual for me to type a long list. I'm new to this forum, but I have thousands of posts in another and have constantly typed long lists there. Although it helps to be able to type 120 wpm :)
  6. Apr 28, 2004 #5


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    I found it interesting that while Spain has just 1.26 births per woman, Spain's birthrate (10.08/1000) is higher than its deathrate (9.48/1000). Even if we ignore immigration, Spain is more than replacing its population with 1.26 births per female.

    Something seems fishy.

  7. Apr 28, 2004 #6
    That's because it takes one full human life span for the statistics to have full effect. After all, people born 50 years ago is probably still alive today right? Spain's birthrate, as well as other European countries, have had these rates for about a decade or two. If they continue this birthrate, yes their population will start declining.
  8. Apr 28, 2004 #7
    It's all about proper math. Women make up roughly 50% of the population. Hence a woman needs to produce 2 kids to replenish a population. One to replace her and one to replace a man. The extra 0.1 is needed for kids that die at birth or young age. A total of 2.1 births per woman is needed in order to stabalize a population.
  9. Apr 28, 2004 #8


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    Your original list includes several places with very small populations and several where 'immigration' has always been a large, or overwhelming, factor; e.g. Singapore, Andorra, San Marino, Macau, Hong Kong, Guernsey, Liechtenstein, St Helena, Jersey, Gibralta, Barbados, Isle of Man, Luxembourg, BVI, Monarco, Seychelles, Aruba, Martinique, Monserrat.

    Also, the "2.1" figure as "zero population growth" is, IIRC, a 'steady state' number, and (clearly) none of the countries in your list are in that happy state (this addresses Njorl's 'something fishy'). It would be interesting to know why it's 2.1 and not 2.0.

    Irrespective, the overwhelming conclusion seems to be: once an economic region become reasonably stable, prosperous, and the people cease to live in rural areas (caveats apply), women in those regions tend to have fewer than two kids, on average.

  10. Apr 28, 2004 #9
    These questions have been answered in my response to Njorl. Post #6 & #7 of this thread.
  11. Apr 28, 2004 #10
    Did anyone pay attention to this line?

    "Experts predict Europe will lose at least 100 million people by mid-century."

    The following countries ALREADY experience negative growth rate. And all the countries on this first post will also within the coming couple decades if they continue with their birth rate.

    List of country's growth rate:

    1. Christmas Island -9% (2003 est.)
    2. Bulgaria -1.09% (2003 est.)
    3. Latvia -0.73% (2003 est.)
    4. Ukraine -0.69% (2003 est.)
    5. Trinidad and Tobago -0.68% (2003 est.)
    6. Dominica -0.63% (2003 est.)
    7. Botswana -0.55% (2003 est.)
    8. Georgia -0.52% (2003 est.)
    9. Estonia -0.49% (2003 est.)
    10. Russia -0.3% (2003 est.)
    11. Hungary -0.29% (2003 est.)
    12. Samoa -0.27% (2003 est.)
    13. Lithuania -0.23% (2003 est.)
    14. Romania -0.21% (2003 est.)
    15. Belarus -0.12% (2003 est.)
    16. Czech Republic -0.08% (2003 est.)
    17. Armenia -0.07% (2003 est.)
    18. Svalbard -0.02% (2003 est.)
  12. Apr 28, 2004 #11


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    This is great to hear! It's nice to know so many countries are contributing to a negative population growth. We don't want to wind up with negative population growth forever, but for a few generations, at least, it's necessary to reverse some of the current overpopulation problems. Even with the low birthrate, people are also living longer, so we need to factor that into the formula, so factoring the two together will probably balance out right now.
  13. Apr 28, 2004 #12


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    It does mean the populations of those countries are "aging". The old are no longer being replaced or surpassed by new members, and everyone is of course getting older. This is going to put a frightening strain on every advanced nation's services is the not so distant future.
  14. Apr 28, 2004 #13


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    ... but only if there is no significant immigration ...

    Lots of small 'countries' in your list too (isn't "Christmas Island" a territory of Australia?).

    I wonder what the headlines of 50 years' ago read?
  15. Apr 28, 2004 #14
    "Many nations are aborting their future generations, creating a worldwide underpopulation crisis"

    "The president of Estonia goes on national TV to urge his countrymen to have more children. Russian President Vladimir Putin warns his parliament about "a serious crisis threatening Russia's survival": the nation's low birth rate. The government of Singapore is trying to reverse that country's birth dearth by sponsoring a massive taxpayer-funded matchmaking service."

    Source: http://www.worldmag.com/world/issue/02-15-03/cultural_1.asp
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2004
  16. Apr 28, 2004 #15
    Europe's population in 2000: 728 million
    Europe's population in 2003: 726 million

    Europe's population in 2050: 632 million (projected)

    Note the projected 2050 number is with factoring in that Europe will slowly start to raise it's birthrate. However if the birthrate of 2003 remains constant, the population of Europe in 2050 will be...

    Europe's population in 2050: 597 million (constant birthrate)

    Source: http://www.mnforsustain.org/pop_forecasting_the_unknowable_grant_l_npg.htm
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2004
  17. Apr 29, 2004 #16


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    I frankly don't see this as a problem; I see it as a solution. Do you think we'll be threatened with extinction if there are only 5 billion of us around?

    - Warren
  18. Apr 29, 2004 #17
    However the transition to a steady state or decline of the population will be rather troublesome with severe impact on social structures.

    Just as a contrast against Pronatalists ideas, Midas Dekkers, the worlds most famous biologist in the Netherlands and surrounding villages, proposes that the best you can do for the environment is not having kids. Then he calculates the difference in number of diapers, used up cars, tonnes of burned fossile fuel, etc to prove his point.
  19. Apr 29, 2004 #18


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    I think this is great. The fewer of us there are, the more luxurious we can live. It's hard to split the earth over 6 billion people and end up with a nice slice, but what about 3 billion? Think of how awesome that would be. We could drive boat cars for longer, we could abuse the environment twice as hard before getting the same effect. Surplus amounts of food would be insane in well off countries like Canada and the US (which already have a large food surplus).

    Fantastic :cool:
  20. Apr 29, 2004 #19


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    That just means we will need to adjust our social structures. The real problem, at least in the US, is that social security for the members of one generation is paid for by the kids of the next generation. However, social security is a relatively new protection, so still needs refining as the population changes. With a population that is living much longer, there isn't enough money to support so many people for such a long time after retirement age. However, retirement age is based on outdated lifespan information and the age at which people used to become incapacitated and unproductive workers. With people remaining healthy longer and living longer, there's no reason they need to stop working at 65. We'll just have to expect older people to support themselves longer. That, or we'll solve the problem of unemployment as the older generation retires without as many people in the youngest generations to replace them, opening up plenty of jobs, especially jobs providing services to the elderly. And, if you're not spending all your money raising kids and paying for all the things kids need, you would have more to save and support yourself longer in your old age, so don't need to rely on your kids to take care of you.

    Something else to factor in is that if we reduce overcrowding in cities and the size of the population overall, there will be slower disease spread, reduced pollution, less of a drain on resources, etc, so those fewer children being born will be healthier and more likely to survive to adulthood, so the rate of population decline would stabilize. This is actually a pretty natural pattern to have large population increases, get to the point where the environment can no longer sustain such a large population or overcrowding leads to disease spread, starvation, etc, then the population begins to decline, when the environment recovers, diseases stop spreading so quickly, food is plentiful, the population will start to rebound again. We just have such a long generation length and lifespan compared to other species that we won't see these cycles within the span of 5 or 10 years but over centuries.
  21. Apr 29, 2004 #20


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    I agree, the reduction in birth rates is wonderful news and necessary. In the past, plagues & famine killed off huge numbers of the population, keeping the population count in check. With all of the advances in medicine & agriculture, action was needed to prevent serious overpopulation.

    Yes, we are seeing a large increase in the elderly population right now due to higher birth rates in the past, but this should even out some once the baby boomer generation is gone.
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