Most observers would probably not go as far as some who claim “demography is destiny.” Many, however, would likely concede that demography is way ahead of anything else in second place regarding the destiny of human populations.There are few people in the world who are more expert on the topic than he is, and he lays out the current global situation with precision.
Among the key demographic revolutions underway perhaps first and foremost is the unprecedented growth of world population. The 20th century saw the beginning of rapid growth with the world’s population increasing nearly four-fold during the past century, from 1.6 billion in 1900 to 6.1 billion in 2000.
Nearly all of world population growth takes place in less developed regions. India and China alone account for close to one-third of the world’s annual births, 19 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively. The increase in India’s population is so rapid that it achieves in 10 days the same demographic growth as Europe over an entire year.I have copied below a figure that he put together from UN data that are essentially the same as in Table 2.2 in my text, but the histogram is more powerful than the table because it emphasizes the way in which the populations of China and India (probably the most populous in history for centuries) have taken off proportionately since the end of World War II:
Nearly all of world population growth takes place in less developed regions. India and China alone account for close to one-third of the world’s annual births, 19 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively. The increase in India’s population is so rapid that it achieves in 10 days the same demographic growth as Europe over an entire year.
Differential rates of demographic growth are contributing to a New International Population Order. Whereas six of the world’s 10 largest populations in 1950 were more developed countries, today the number is two – the United States and the Russian Federation – and by 2035 the Russian Federation is projected to be displaced by Ethiopia (Figure 1).He concludes with a comment, the content of which will be very familiar to readers of my book and this blog, that is unfortunately not understood widely enough by the general public:
The revolutionary demographic changes that the world is experiencing are impacting virtually every aspect of human life. Ignoring those weighty consequences and avoiding the needed adjustments to the changing demographic landscapes will significantly impact societal wellbeing. On the other hand, fully acknowledging the revolutionary demographic changes underway and seriously preparing for the anticipated challenges will contribute significantly to improving human existence on the planet.