We’ve all heard the thesis on real estate investing: “They’re not making any more land.” It turns out that before too long we may not be making enough people either.
Global population has been expanding since antiquity, interrupted by wars, disasters, pandemics, and famine. Malthusian predictions of overpopulation, unsustainability, and resource depletion have also been a part of conventional wisdom since antiquity and remain popular today (see Paul Gilding’s “The Earth is Full” TED talk). It is, after all, a common trait of the human mind to assume that the past is an accurate predictor of the future.
What are the potential implications of global depopulation?
The world population has been growing since antiquity, interrupted by wars, disasters, pandemics, and famine. But the global human population may soon hit an inflection point and enter a period of demographic contraction.
The population is already declining in many countries, including Japan, Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, and Hungary.1 Many more are on the brink. If it were not for international immigration, both the United States and the EU would have declining populations today. The total population of the continent of Europe, including Russia and non-EU countries, peaked in the year 2000.