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Streets of the future overrun with tumbleweeds? Global fertility decline promises “immense implications” including the need for open immigration

Summarised by Centrist

A new major study in The Lancet projects a global fertility rate decline will lead to shrinking populations more quickly than currently thought in almost every country by the end of the century. If correct, the impacts would be profound.

By 2050, the study predicts three quarters of countries will experience population shrinkage with half of all nations already having fertility rates too low to sustain their population sizes (i.e. a baby bust).

The study notes that developing nations are experiencing baby booms. Wealthier, ageing nations face “baby busts”. 

However, Spanish National Research Council researcher Teresa Castro Martin, who is not involved in the study, pointed out these are only projections. She says that The Lancet study forecasts a global fertility rate decline below replacement levels by around 2030, while the UN’s prediction is for around 2050.

The research is part of the Global Burden of Disease study conducted by the Institute For Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), which in turn was set up at the University of Washington by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

IHME researcher Natalia Bhattacharjee states: 

“Once nearly every country’s population is shrinking, reliance on open immigration will become necessary to sustain economic growth.”

She says the impacts to the global economy and international balance of power will reorganise society. The “implications are immense,” she says.  

Editor’s note: One upshot is that the ratio of housing to population could improve in many countries, which could make housing more affordable. 

Read more over at Yahoo News

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