Demography: A tale of three islands | The Economist. Who’d have thought one could learn so much about demography.
Despite the exponential chart, would you have guessed that 3.2 billion people live in countries with a fertility rate of 2.1 or less and that Brazil, Tunisia and Thailand are below replacement rate.
Most of the world has now had its demographic dividend (when lower fertility rates mean that there are relatively few children, older people and a large number of economically active adults create economic growth). While Japan will be the oldest population the world has known by 2050, it is China that is most surprising: it will be older than America in the 202s and than Europe in the 2030s.
The author’s conclusion is spot on:
If you look at the overall size of the worldâ€™s population, then, the picture is one of falling fertility, decelerating growth and a gradual return to the flat population level of the 18th century. But below the surface societies are being churned up in ways not seen in the much more static pre-industrial world.