nature's self-regulating effects in action?

"fertility rates will be below replacement levels in three-quarters of the world by 2050"

[...] Joseph Chamie, the head of the UN population division in New York, said he now expected 8.9 billion people on Earth in 2050, rather than the 9.3 billion that he forecast in 2002. The current figure is 6.3 billion.

The 400-million reduction equates to the current populations of the US, Canada and Mexico combined. Chamie said half arose from birth rates falling faster than expected and the other half was due to rising forecasts of the death toll from AIDS. [...]

He warned that "fertility rates will be below replacement levels in three-quarters of the world by 2050". The great majority of women worldwide will be having fewer than two children. [...] In fact, the new projections assume that most countries will eventually approach a fertility rate of 1.85 children per woman. This represents a clear break with past thinking - demographers had always assumed countries would settle down to replacement fertility levels. [...]

The population of South Africa and three neighbours is also expected to reduce, but as a result of the AIDS. Chamie predicts the disease will have claimed 278 million lives by mid-century. [...]

The next five decades are also set to see a massive ageing of the world population. The number of people over 80 will rise fivefold. The median citizen - the one with half the world older than him or her and half younger, will be aged 37 in 2050, compared to 26 today.

Tags: ,

14 Responses:

  1. shandrew says:

    This isn't nature's self-regulation; it's just how humans work. Wealthier humans tend to have fewer kids. As more of the world becomes industrialized, more people have fewer kids. Even if reproduction rates drop below 2, populations will continue to go up for a while because of population inertia (people live :)

    • jwz says:

      "how humans work" is "nature." This is selective pressure, the feedback loop of populations and environments. It's neat stuff. Just because you have a simple set of words to describe it doesn't mean it's not a natural-selection-related effect.

      • panserbjorne says:

        Just because it's "nature" and "how humans work" doesn't mean that it's a natural-selection-related effect. A lot of things go on in nature that aren't natural selection. It's more of a game-theory type of thing, I think.

  2. deluxed says:

    Ahh. Glorious Photoshopping on that good ol' icon you've got there, Jamie.

    I'm working on making new instructions in Adobe to make new, hopefully funnier, "printable guides to inform the public of what to do in these dangerous situations."

  3. So corporations enforcing drug patents and religious nutbars blocking the use of condoms are a force of Nature now?

    • king_mob says:

      The corporations one is, in the sense that "monstrous greed" is a force of nature.

      • So, say, your average mugger isn't responsible for his actions, because he is in some sense a force of Nature?

        • jwz says:

          That predators exist is certainly an aspect of "nature" and selective pressure. You're the one who brought "responsibility" into it.

        • baconmonkey says:

          nope, Muggers are a supernatural force, and thus exempt from laws of physics and responsibility.

          Muggings, i.e. confiscation of resources by one individual under direct threat or invocation of violcence by annother individual - occurs in species other than just humans. We can depersonalize it all we want, but when a bigger dog threatens a smaller dog to coerce food or toys from the smaller dog, it is really not any different than when a human uses threats of violence to coerce money from annother human.
          When watching nature shows, we call that nature's way, or survival of the fittest. when it involves humans, we call it savage, and demand politicians and law enforcement do something about it. The primary difference is that human muggings are typically not done by individuals known to the victim.

  4. g_na says:

    fertility rates will be below replacement levels in three-quarters of the world by 2050
    This is excellent news!

    he now expected 8.9 billion people on Earth in 2050
    This, however, is not.

  5. tbye says:

    ... sources also confirm that fertility rates in Utah will continue to rise.

  6. retrodiva1 says:

    Wait so before they were worried that we were using up too much of the world's natural resources, now they are worried that we aren't going to have enough people in the world to use up the natural resources.

    Isn't this just how it goes? The population rises and falls. To be honest how do we know this isn't some elaborate plot to get people to start having more kids so that we can continue to fill the world with good little future consumers.

    I breed NOT!!!