Expert Sees Demographic Change After the 7 Billionth Human

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The seven billionth person on earth is expected to be born on Monday, however, a certain expert who aids in counting says that the birth of the seven billionth also comes in as the planet undergoes a demographic shift towards slower population growth.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) said that the seven billionth child will most likely be a boy given birth in either China or India. However, the fertility trend in the longer term may go to a different path, according to Dudley Poston, a Sociology and Demographics Professor at the Texas A & M University. He says that for the first time in many years, let alone since the world began, human reproduction rate is going on a slow-down in many significant places. The slowing growth is not only evident in Europe and Japan.

Poston told the news reporters that, “Once your fertility rates drops below two, it is very very hard to get it to go back up again. We now have 75 countries in the world where the fertility rate is below two.” This means that an average woman gives birth to no more than two children in her lifetime.

This fertility rate is way below the rate of 2.2 to 2.3 which is considered an optimal rate to keep steady and stable the population growth. This rate has been reached upon factoring in the number of women who fails to reach the childbearing age and those who are not capable of bearing any children.

He also says that Europe and the industrial states of Asia, i.e. Japan, are the “poster children” for the shift in demographic rates, China, Brazil and the Islamic Middle East are also keeping up with the slower pace in fertility. In fact, UAE has a recorded 1.8 fertility rate.

Today, Japan is losing more citizens than what they are gaining, and South Korea is also alarmed with a low fertility rate which is 1.1, said Poston.

Looking back during the 1970s, the world fertility rate was playing around 4.5 which led to predictions of demographic doom and population explosion.

“When Paul Ehrlich wrote that book the world was growing at about 2 percent per year,” Poston said. “Now we’re growing at about half that.”

According to Poston, a mix of factors brought about this most significant demographic shift. In the Western world, improved methods of birth control and greater workplace opportunities for women halted the 5,000 year-old perspective that women are all baby-makers. In fact, China has also been aggressive in terms of reinforcing their one-child policy. This drastically changed the population growth rate in the world, with China being the most populous country to date.

Generally speaking, urbanization is one of the factors that led to the reduction of the need for large families in the agricultural areas.

Poston also noted that the growth rate decrease in Islamic Middle East countries remains to be a mystery where rate has fallen from 7.0 in 1974 to 1.9 today. However, he said that it may have probably stemmed from cultural changes.

 

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