THE world’s population will start shrinking within 45 years, experts say.
Human numbers will rise from today’s 7.8billion to peak at 9.7billion around 2050, but fall by nearly a billion by 2100.
Birth control and better education for girls will be behind the decline.
But with increasingly ageing populations there will not be enough youngsters to sustain numbers.
Italy, Spain, Japan and Thailand will see populations halved, the study by Washington University’s School of Medicine says.
Researchers said coronavirus can throw off population models but excess deaths caused by Covid-19 is unlikely to change forecasting trends.
In 2100, the US is excepted to have the fourth biggest working-age population with an expected 181million.
Professor Stein Emil Vollset said: “The societal, economic, and geopolitical power implications of our predictions are substantial.
“In particular, our findings suggest that the decline in the numbers of working-age adults alone will reduce.
“GDP growth rates that could result in major shifts in global economic power by the century’s end.
“Responding to population decline is likely to become an overriding policy concern in many nations, but must not compromise efforts to enhance women’s reproductive health or progress on women’s rights.
“While population decline is potentially good news for reducing carbon emissions and stress on food systems, with more old people and fewer young people, economic challenges will arise as societies struggle to grow with fewer workers and taxpayers, and countries’ abilities to generate the wealth needed to fund social support and health care for the elderly are reduced.”
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