A Shocking Look at How the Population Trend Will Alter Life as We Know it

Posted by - Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Nothing like this magnitude or tempo of population change had ever previously been witnessed in the history of our species...”

-Nicholas Eberstadt 

The population trend currently unfolding in the United States has experts anxious about our fate.

Contrary to what you may believe, birthrates are declining. Demographic researchers have looked at the fertility rate – the number of children born to an average woman in the course of a lifetime – across the globe and that number has actually fallen almost rather dramatically since 1960. Then that number was approximately 4.9 and now it sets closer to 2.6.

According to demographers, that trend in declining birthrates is the most significant factor in the world's present-day population trend.

Although it is widely accepted that a growing population is the number one threat to the planet, there are actually a number of problems associated with what demographers are calling “shrinking societies.” Approximately 50% of everyone in the entire world lives in a country where the fertility rate is below the replacement level of 2.1

What does that mean for our future?

The main issue to consider is retirement programs. With elderly Americans living longer than ever and a sharp decline in the number of children whom will be working in a few years time, it will be much more difficult for the government to fund existing retirement programs.

Overall, the entire developed world is living longer and aging faster, which gives experts cause to believe that America's global position could change entirely....

In an attempt to best predict the fate of America within the next 20-50 years, strategists look at the demographic challenges currently facing China in an attempt to plan for our own uncertain future.

According to Bloomberg:

China’s rise over the last generation has been stunning, but straight-line projections of its future power and influence ignore that its birthrate is 30 percent below the replacement rate.

The Census Bureau predicts that China’s population will peak in 2026, just 14 years from now. Its labor force will shrink, and its over-65 population will more than double over the next 20 years, from 115 million to 240 million. It will age very rapidly. Only Japan has aged faster -- and Japan had the great advantage of growing rich before it grew old. By 2030, China will have a slightly higher proportion of the population that is elderly than western Europe does today -- and western Europe, recall, has a higher median age than Florida.

Taking a closer look into how social relationship dynamics and corroding family networking contributes to China's overall economy, Eberstadt argues that America may benefit from making some “new friends and allies in the world.” Americans evolving relationship with India is promising, but Eberstadt also worries about India's “appalling education deficit.”

Regardless of what's going on across the globe today and tomorrow, Eberstadt suggests that foreign-policy leaders make sure to dedicate more time to more closely studying these gradual population changes. Whether we like it or not, it will impede on the way of life as we know it and the more unprepared we are for it, the greater the financial burden will become...

The following video that lays out the population issue in a pretty cool way:

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