The coronavirus pandemic has taken a major toll on the health and well-being of the global community and while claiming lakhs of lives, it has threatened the existence of millions of people across the world. But the centrality and gravity of its adverse impact on the human world can be understood by the projections made by a recent study.
The study makes an alarming revelation and tells us that more than twenty countries of the world including Japan, Italy, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Spain and Thailand will see a rapid diminishing of their aggregate populations and their populations will be reduced by at least half by 2100.
The study shows that China, which is one among the most populous countries in the world will see a population reduction from its current 1.4 billion people to 730 million people just within a time frame of less than eighty years. The study has been published in The Lancet.
The study says that the population decrease will be nearly 2 billion more than what the UN has projected and said that the population will be declining at a much greater rate due to reduction in people’s fertility and the chunk of the population being composed of ageing people.
But countries in sub-saharan Africa will see their populations multiplying by up to three times and Nigeria will have 800 million people by 2100. India will be at 1.1 billion people.
While countries outside Africa will be seeing their populations coming down, many in Africa will witness their populations growing. This is certain to have negative impacts on world economies and destabilise them further. The declining population in the developed world will mean that they have to make sure that couples who want to bear children are encouraged and given structural support, the rules for immigration of workforces from other countries are made much more people oriented and people willing to take up jobs in these countries are encouraged through a series of welfare mechanisms. One of the dangers that may come with threats of extensively low population is that governments may make policies that deny people the right to remain childless or opt for contraception. If this is done then it will certainly curb women’s right to their bodies and bring it almost in contradiction to the demands and need of the nation-state.
The other important thing that countries that see a shrinkage of population will need to make sure is the healthcare and emergency services are made very elderly friendly and they are accommodated in a wide range of social welfare schemes and policies that make them more active parts of the economy and society.
On the other hand, for countries like Nigeria where the population will expand manifold there will be a growing need to create jobs and employment opportunities, welfare schemes and livelihood guarantee mechanisms along with rapid infrastructural growth.