Catholic mothers in their colorful dress attend a program inside Phu Cam Cathedral in Hue, Vietnam on July 11, 2020 (Photo: UCA News)
Asian nations will experience a drop in population and China will see its population decline by half by the turn of the next century, says a new study published in an internationally reputed journal.
Asian nations such as China, Japan, Thailand and South Korea will see their populations diminish by at least half by 2100, according to a study published in The Lancet on July 15.
The world’s topper China's population will shrink from 1.4 billion today to 730 million in 80 years.
The total global population will come down to 8.8 billion people in 2100, 2 billion short of the current United Nations projection, said the study.
The new study, funded by the Bill and & Melinda Gates Foundation, blamed falling fertility rates and a graying population as reasons for the diminishing trend in world population.
The researchers, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), suggested immigration as a solution to arrest the fall in world population.
Titled ‘Global Burden of Disease Study 2017,’ the study says the number of people of working age in China will fall from 950 million today to just over 350 million by the century-end – a steep fall of 62 percent. This will affect the economy.
On the other hand, India’s people of working age will report a minor fall, from 762 to 578 million.
The study, headed by IHME director Dr. Christopher Murray, covered 183 of 195 countries.
"This study provides governments of all countries an opportunity to start rethinking their policies on migration, workforces and economic development to address the challenges presented by demographic change," Murray said.
By 2050, China's gross domestic product (GDP) will surpass that of the United States, but will slip back to second place by 2100 due to the fall in population, they said.
India, the second most populous country, will occupy the number three spot in terms of GDP, while Japan, Germany, France and the UK will stay among the world's 10 largest economies.
Muslim-majority Indonesia will emerge as the 12th largest economy, while Nigeria – currently 28th – will make a spectacular jump to the top 10 slot due to robust female fertility.
By the century-end, it will be a multipolar world, with the US, China, India and Nigeria as dominant powers, according to the study, which outlined the "radical shifts in geopolitical power."
The difference between the UN and IHME figures is based on fertility rates.
The UN studies state that nations with low fertility rates will see increases, on average, to 1.8 children per woman over the time, said Murray.
"Our analysis suggests that as women become more educated and have access to reproductive health services, they choose to have less than 1.5 children on average," he explained by email.
The US – the world's fourth most populous country – will see a decline after 2062 by a moderate 10 percent to 336 million by 2100. The total fertility rate of US women will steadily decline from 1.8 in 2017 to 1.5 in 2100 – well below the minimum birth rate of 2.1 necessary to maintain the current population rate.
The authors suggest that liberal immigration policies could help maintain population size and warned against compromises on women's freedom and reproductive rights.