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Population reaches 8 billion, but irreversible declines are expected

The world’s population has reached a new record of 8 billion people, but is that the threshold? Is a decline on the horizon?

crowd of people representing population

We have reached a new population record on the planet. According to the UN, we are hitting 8 billion people and counting.

That is a huge number. Most of the time, I can’t even imagine what 100 people look like let alone 8 billion. That is a lot of zeros and an egregious amount of people on this planet. By 2050 however, the UN predicts we could reach a whopping 9.7 billion people.

I don’t know how proud of it we should actually be. A large number like that does damage to our ecosystems and as cities continue to grow, forests recede and ocean waters rise.

The article continues on to say though civilizations continue to grow, they will eventually decline in population numbers…that there are more children on this earth than there ever will be again. Which is a crazy thought – how can we continue to grow yet decline at the same time?

When you take in all the little factors though, it makes sense. How many of us know people who are having children later on in life? Or they are choosing not to have children at all? Children are expensive and not many people can afford to have them without incurring debt. A lot of us don’t want to bring a person into this world we can’t 100% care for.

There is also the fact people born in the late ’80s and on have been prioritizing mental health and career over traditional family values.

This ideology will continue to become more standard as generations grow up, meaning eventually, people will be having fewer and fewer babies in every country.

A prime example of this is already in Japan. Women living in Japan are focused on their careers and due to Japan’s higher-than-average rate of suicide, mental health is a target. The Japanese government is actually trying to entice its citizens into having more children.

Imagine living in a country with so few people that the government has to get involved to get things moving.

The EastAsianForum even reported Japan had a population loss of nearly 700,000 people between 2020-2021. For such a small country, that number is staggering.

Japan is not the only place where fertility rates are falling like snow. All around the world, the fertility rates are not enough to maintain this rate of people.

People are not as interested and are unable to afford to have a family. Though 9.7 billion people are projected by 2050, I firmly believe that may be our peak. The number of people may rapidly decline at that point. Even the UN believes once we decline in population, there is no coming back from it. It may be irreversible. All we can do is wait and see.

A native New Englander who migrated to Austin on a whim, Stephanie Dominique is a freelance copywriter, novelist, and certificate enthusiast. When she's not getting howled at by two dachshunds or inhaling enough sugar to put a giant into shock, she is reading, cooking or writing about her passions.

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