There are currently around 7.7 billion people in the world. The UN is projecting global population will increase to 9.7 billion by 2050 and to nearly 11 billion by 2100. Obviously, this projected growth raises a range of economic, social, and environmental challenges. In my latest Economics Explained podcast episode, I answer questions on global population growth from my good friend Tim Hughes from Urban Ergo, a Brisbane-based business specialising in ergonomic office equipment. In my responses, I relied extensively on the UN’s World Population Prospects 2019 projections.
Use these timestamps to jump right to the highlights:
- 0:14 – intro to global population trends – e.g. declining global population growth with growth concentrated in developing economies, a projected decline in population in the most developed economies over the century, and India to overtake China as the most populous country this decade
- 5:18 – declining fertility rates in richer countries
- 10:18 – Reverend Malthus’s dire prediction
- 11:58 – why global population growth is declining and global population may eventually peak and start falling by 2100
- 15:53 – huge projected population growth in sub-Saharan Africa – e.g. in Nigeria
- 20:30 – why is a fertility rate greater than 2 necessary to replace the population? And more on declining fertility rates – e.g. birth control pill, increasing opportunity cost of having children
- 28:35 – sources of Australia’s population growth (NB more recent ABS demographic data than what I recalled off the top of my head suggest three-fifths of the growth is due to immigration, and two-fifths is due to natural increase (births minus deaths)
This episode was recorded on Thursday 19 February 2019 at the Adept Economics office in the Johnson Hotel, Spring Hill, Brisbane.