The world is not overpopulated: the demographic bomb has already been deactivated and the danger is the extinction of peoples

Towards the end of this century, populations in Europe could disappear along with their cultural and historical baggage. There are material but also ideological factors: maternity wards are closed while sex change clinics proliferate

ByAndré LaranéJournalist and historian

 The world is not overpopulated: the demographic bomb has already been defused and the danger is the extinction of peoples

Although the The demographic bomb was defused a long time ago, many remain convinced that it is necessary to limit births

[This article was originally published in French in ]

In 1968, the American professor Paul Ehrlich caused a sensation with a book titled shock: La Bomba P (P of population). The fear of overpopulation was to follow in this way to that of the nuclear apocalypse before being replaced in turn by the fear of climate change.

Even today, public opinion is permeated by the conviction that the planet is overpopulated and that there is nothing more urgent than reducing the number of births as much as possible. But the reality is much more nuanced!

The world’s population will decline by the end of this century, perhaps even from 2064 if IHME, an institute funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is to be believed. With the exception of sub-Saharan Africa or black Africa, the planet as a whole, including India, now has an average fertility rate below the population replacement rate, that is, 2.1 children per woman. It is a central piece of information that demographers have assimilated very well, but which is still difficult for us to conceive.

Only two large countries are overpopulated, that is, an excess of inhabitants per square kilometer. They are Bangladesh and Egypt , with more than 2,000 inhabitants per square kilometer, which is more densely populated than most of our cities. Bangladesh should overcome this obstacle because, with a fertility lower than 2.1 children per woman, its population is no longer renewed. It may unsettle Egypt a bit more, with 3.3 children per woman.

 The world is not overpopulated: the demographic bomb has already been deactivated and the danger is the extinction of peoples

Only Egypt and Bangladesh have an excess of inhabitants per square kilometer

In terms of natural balance (surplus of births over deaths), black Africa is an exception. It is this region that, nowadays, contributes all the demographic growth of humanity and it never ceases to amaze us. 40 years ago, as the demographer Gilles Pison tells it, the UN projected 2,200 million Africans by the year 2100. Now they expect 4.400 million, that is to say twice, of which 500 million will be in Mediterranean Africa. It is a challenge that African governments take on calmly, as most of them do not want to hear about family planning.

Should we worry about this? Black Africa is the region of the world best endowed with natural resources (with the exception of the Saharan fringe) and is still far from overpopulated, with a density well below the world average of 50 inhabitants per square km. For its inhabitants, deprived of all comforts, children are the only wealth that is worth. A source of pride for men, retirement insurance for women. Furthermore, due to its extreme poverty, Africa does not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, responsible for climate change (it emits 0.5 tons of CO2 per inhabitant per year, against 10 of the rich countries).

 The world is not overpopulated: the demographic bomb has already been deactivated and the danger is the extinction of peoples

Africa black today contributes all the world demographic growth

History is made in the cradles…. and falls apart in graveyards

For the rest of the world, overpopulation is no longer a threat. Quite the contrary! We are witnessing an unprecedented fall in the birth rate in the richest countries, in the West and in the countries bordering the China Sea.

One or two generations from now, that is, in the middle of the 21st century, this decline could be solved by a social and economic morass of which we can glimpse the first signs with the growth of idle savings. At the end of this century, the physical extinction of a good part of the affected populations could take place, at the same time as the disappearance of their cultural and historical baggage …

In China, the number of births fell from 17.9 million in 2016 to 12 million in 2020 and the fertility rate is only 1.47 children per woman. Still today the most populous country in the world, with 1,500 million inhabitants, China will have less than 1,000 million in 2100, and among them a strong proportion of elderly people.

Many other Asian and Western countries are close to or even below the fertility rate of one child per woman, as in Korea (0.87 child per woman in 2020).

 The world is not overpopulated: the demographic bomb has already been defused and the danger is the extinction of peoples

In China , the fertility rate is only 1.47 children per woman, well below the replacement rate (2.1) (File Image: REUTERS/Aly Song)

To measure the phenomenon, a fertility rate of one child per woman means that a thousand women have a thousand children this year, of which 500 are girls. In about thirty years, in 2050, his daughters will have 500 sons, of whom 250 will be girls. And by 2080, her granddaughters will have 250 children of which 125 will be girls. This results in a division by 4 of the number of births in 3 generations and by 8 in 4 generations, that is, at the dawn of the XXII century.

Italy For example, it had 400,000 births and 740,000 deaths in 2020. With a fertility rate that is getting closer to one child per woman, that country should have just 100,000 births per year by 2100. On that date, the old Italians over 60 years old would be at least 4 times more numerous than those under 20 years old. It is equivalent to saying that the Italian people would be almost extinct. The president of the Council, Mario Draghi, was concerned on May 14, 2021 when he inaugurated the first general birth rates: “An Italy without children is an Italy that slowly ceases to exist”.

Certainly, as nature has a horror of emptiness, Italy will not be devoid of men. It will be repopulated with the surplus population of the southern Mediterranean. The situation is not much brighter in other European countries, even in those where immigration comes to compensate for the birth deficit.

France, which is 50 years ahead of its neighbor in terms of South-Mediterranean family immigration, exhibits a fertility of the order of 1.8 children per woman, in part thanks to the contribution of the neo-Europeans. With 740,000 births and 660,000 deaths, it registered a natural balance of 80,000 births in 2020, but without the births that occurred in immigrant households in recent decades, this balance would have been clearly negative, without reaching the Italian abysses. .

 The world is not overpopulated: the demographic bomb has already been deactivated and the danger is the extinction of peoples

The population worldwide will decline by the end of this century

In a foreboding book, Les Berceaux vides de Marianne ( Marianne’s Empty Cribs, Seuil, 1980) [ N. from T: “Marianne” is the female figure representing the French Republic ], demographers Jean-Noël Biraben and Jacques Dupâquier already underlined the consequences of the aging of the population. This aging is induced by the decrease in the birth rate and the shortage of young people much more than by the extension of life expectancy, as demonstrated in other times the demographer Alfred Sauvy. At first, it is beneficial for the economy because the active population increases correlatively with the decrease in the number of children.

The situation deteriorates later, when adults become old in turn and are replaced only in part by young people who are too scarce. Let us remember that in one generation, from 1991 to 2021, the average age of the French population went from 34 to 41 years , with the same number of individuals below and above that threshold, according to the INSEE [French Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies].

In half a century, that age The average will by all odds be close to 50 years with no increase in life expectancy.

Politically, this will lead to a rise in conservatism and of selfishness. The high school students who today wield the portrait of Greta Thumberg Will they continue to worry about “saving the planet” when they have to defend tooth and nail their pensions against a workforce twice as large as they do? Or when they have to fight for the services of doctors and nurses? Or when they need to hire home care staff? Immigration will not be able to count on much to fill the gap because there will not be enough trainers and educators to give neo-Europeans the skills and codes required.

Climate and life: the same fight!

This demographic winter that is looming leads to the extinction of our peoples, very far from the reasonable objective of every human community: to perpetuate itself ensuring at least generational renewal. It is about couples without children or with only one child being compensated by an equivalent number of couples with 3 or 4 children, a situation of the era of the France of the “Thirty Glorious” (1944-1974) .

 The world is not overpopulated: the demographic bomb has already been deactivated and the danger is the extinction of peoples

In the called & quot; Thirty (Glorious Years) & quot; France had a birth rate that ensured generational replacement and much more (AFP)

All so-called “developed” countries are striding away from this goal . Everyone is affected by “demographic anorexia”, which today is even an ideological target. While maternity wards are closed, sex change clinics multiply and people are encouraged to reject motherhood in order to “ save the pan ”. Absurd nonsense that reveals a clear correlation between greenhouse gas emissions and empty cribs.

From the China Sea to the Atlantic, the countries that are heating up the climate are the same ones that are on the path of demographic extinction. It is not necessary to see in this a simple coincidence but the double consequence of a model of a deadly society, that American way of life that after 1945 seduced Europeans and then the rest of the world.

It rests on the low-cost exploitation of natural resources with a view to endless consumption of ever new products: today, one car per adult, one home cinema per home, a cruise ship at each station, tomorrow a passage into space. This consumption is maintained by intense social pressure that leads to the proliferation of new diseases (burn-out, obesity, etc.) and that distances young people from any family project: “At 30, no I can sacrifice my career for a son ”; “Have a second child? Impossible, because we could not give ourselves all the tastes ”.

[ Translation: Claudia Peiró, for Infobae ]

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