III Publishing

Getting to the Wonderful World of One Billion
December 16, 2018
by William P. Meyers

Site Search

Also sponsored by PeacefulJewelry

Popular pages:

U.S. War Against Asia
Democratic Party
Republican Party
Natural Liberation

From Here to There: Second in the series on the Wonderful World of One Billion

The simplistic answer of how to get from here, with over 7 billion people, to there, with about 1 billion people, is by reducing the average number of children per female (or male-female couple) to below 2. However, a very slow decline in population would probably result in ecological destruction and climate change such that the world of one billion people would not be so wonderful.

A better goal is one child per couple on average. In that case about 1 billion people could be reached by the end of this century. The exact timing depends on at what age parents give birth (later is better) and the life expectancy of those already alive.

In most nations the birth rate has declined as women have been liberated and people in general have become wealthier. The birth rate is normally calculated as the number of births per 1000 people rather than births per female. However, for our purposes the total fertility rate, the average number of children born to women, is a better measure.

The global total fertility rate was recently (2015) 2.36. There have been some moments in recent history, is specific areas, where it has gone to 1 or lower, our goal. In Japan it is currently (2016) at 1.45. In the United States it is 1.76. The United States is a good example of a nation where population would be declining except for large-scale immigration. The nation with a highest fertility rate is Niger, at 6.49. [See also Total Fertility Rate at Wikipedia.]

There are steps that can be taken to nudge people towards having fewer children. Birth control should be readily available. Educations campaigns can help convince people to put more resources into a single child, rather than spreading them out over a larger group of children. Tax schedules and government benefits can be changed to stop rewarding people for having more than one child.

Unfortunately, currently there are more governments in the world encouraging larger families than encouraging smaller ones. Some of these nations do have declining populations, like Italy, but by my schedule they are not declining rapidly enough.

Immigration could become less controversial if the nations that export people could achieve lower birth rates. Not all emigration and immigration is driven by high birth rates, but much of it is.

The idea that a nation or identity group may lose strength if its birth rate falls is probably the major impediment to action. It is important that the process be fair and global if it is to be sustained. Some nations like the United States have large populations because they industrialized early and may not be a fair standard for comparisons to less developed nations.

The negative implications of overpopulation are clear to anyone who care to look. We see famine and poverty as well as ecological destruction. But the best way to persuade many people to participate in birth control and family planning is by teaching about their benefits. The short term benefit is having more economic resources for each person in the family. The long term benefit is reaching the Wonderful World of One Billion.

Ideally each family and each nation would decide to get with this program voluntarily. However, negative societal feedback may play a part in nudging selfish, short sighted people to join in.

III Blog list of articles