Population of China fell for the first time in more than six decadesAccording to figures released on Tuesday.
But that’s not all.
Many countries — particularly in Europe and Asia — could see their populations decline in the coming decades if the projections for 2100 released by the UN last July prove true. In others, populations are already declining.
The population is already declining
Eight countries with more than 10 million people have experienced population declines over the past decade. Most are European.
Populations are declining in Italy, Portugal, Poland, Romania and Greece, along with Ukraine, whose population has been decimated by the Russian invasion.
There are many reasons behind these declines, some unique to each country, but they all share low fertility rates, meaning women are having fewer children on average than before.
According to the World Bank, fertility rates range from 1.2 to 1.6 children per woman in these Southern and Eastern European countries. A fertility rate greater than 2 is needed to keep a population stable.
Added to this phenomenon was a large migrant exodus in Poland, Romania and Greece, with more people living abroad than at home.
Outside of Europe, Japan is also seeing its aging population decline. This is due to a low fertility rate of 1.3 children per woman and low immigration.
Japan lost more than 3 million people between 2011 and 2021.
Same goes for the Middle East. In Syria, the population has been devastated by more than a decade and a half of war, with millions of refugees fleeing to neighboring countries and beyond.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) estimates that some 606,000 men, women and children have been killed in the fighting.
It will decrease tomorrow
China — currently the world’s most populous country — has worried for years about the impact of its aging population on the economy and society, but the population is not expected to decline for nearly a decade.
Tuesday’s revelation that China is now underpopulated is predicted to become a lasting trend that will affect people for years to come.
China is predicted to lose half its population by 2100, falling from more than 1.4 billion people to 771 million.
Russia, Germany, South Korea and Spain are poised to join this downward movement, with their populations beginning to decline by 2030.
The population of Europe as a whole will begin to decline in this decade.
But there are some exceptions.
While European, American and Asian populations should all begin to decline by 2100, populations in Africa will continue to rise.
The African continent will increase from 1.4 to 3.9 billion by 2100. About 38% of the world’s population used to live in Africa, compared to 18% today.