Fertility Rates Fall: Good or Bad?

In Misc on November 2, 2009 at 21:40

fertilityRemember the time when Malthus was worried that population growth will eventually absorb all food supplies on the planet? Me neither, but you know what I mean! Fertility rates in developing economies have dropped to as low as 2.1 which is the threshold for the so called ‘replacement fertility’, an indicator of zero population growth.

It is undoubted that economic development and the modernisation of lifestyles across civilizations, have been compressing fertility rates long time now. What was unexpected was the pace at which those rates fell in the developing world. Social changes in developing economies have been far more rapid than in the developed world years ago.

Should we be worried about falling fertility rates? Probably not because as many scientists have claimed, our population has far exceeded the earth’s carrying capacity. Although not a catalyst, overpopulation was always a threat to climate change and biodiversity. Nevertheless, low fertility rates translate in more young workers required to work for each pensioner as more people exit than enter the workforce, something referred to as the ‘dependancy ratio’. This is likely to affect pension schemes as governments will have a smaller platform to absorb funds from.

Even though we’ve reached the replacement rate threshold, population will still keep growing due to positive population momentum  as large parts of the population are of child-bearing ages. Besides the fiscal effects that governments will have to discipline, there isn’t any real threat on the horizon. This is good news..

by the Self-Seeker


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