The Future Belongs to Those Who Turn Up

That phrase come from Mark Steyn, who is interested in demographics, which led to his discussion of a recent book: “Tomorrow’s People: The future of humanity in ten numbers”, by Paul Morland, ISBN 978-1-5290-4599-4 (2022). Mr. Morland projects current population trends into the future, under the implicit optimistic assumption that DC Swamp Creatures will not stumble their way into a population-altering global nuclear war.

Mr. Morland appears to be a bog-standard British Leftie. Perhaps that is why the book reads a little like a script for a typical BBC show – a woman or minority is introduced for a few lines to make some appropriate point, and then is forgotten.

The big picture Mr. Morland describes would not be surprising to anyone who has been paying attention, but the details are interesting. The number of humans on Planet Earth has been increasing, due mainly to a huge decline in infant mortality and a significant (in some countries, staggering) increase in the average lifespan. At the same time, Peak Population is coming into view because of an amazing decline in fertility (the number of children the average woman is expected to have over her lifetime). In many countries, this is now below the replacement rate of about 2.1 children per woman required to maintain a stable population. The exception, interestingly, is Israel. The result is rapidly changing age structures in many countries, with decreasing numbers of younger people and growing numbers of older people.

Currently-rich countries have mostly reacted to these trends by encouraging legal or illegal immigration – Japan is of course the great exception to such open borders. Mr. Morland acknowledges that a consequence of this immigration is irrevocable changes in societies – the London in which he grew up has gone forever.

An interesting and often neglected point which the author makes about immigration is the impact it has on the (generally poor) countries from which the immigrants come. He recounts the tale of an aging neighbor lady in London who has been cared for by a succession of young Filipinas. Who, he wonders, will look after those Filipinas when they in turn grow old?

Fertility is declining in Africa along with the rest of the world. But there are so many young African women who have not yet had children that demographic momentum will see the population of Africa continue to expand for decades to come – creating further pressure for emigration, both within Africa and from Africa to countries in the rest of the world with declining & aging populations.

Mr. Morland’s ten numbers, for any who are interested:

10 – current infant mortality rate per thousand in Peru (down from over 100 per thousand in the early 1970s). Many more babies are surviving, worldwide.

4 Billion – population of Africa by 2100 (about 35% of the projected global population, up from about 7% in 1950).

121 – Chinese cities with populations over 1 Million. In the mid-1970s, only about 20% of China’s population lived in cities; now it is around 60%. Urbanization is a big continuing trend around the world, with the associated emptying out of the countryside.

1.0 – fertility rate in Singapore. The next generation in Singapore will be only half the size of the current generation. Especially in wealthier countries, women are not having babies; but even in poorer countries, fertility rates are declining.

43 – median age in Catalonia. Catalonians in their 40s far outnumber those in their 20s. The Western world is aging.

79,000 – number of people in Japan over 100 years old. The number of very old (& hence dependent) people in rich countries is increasing rapidly.

55 – percentage decline in Bulgaria’s population in the last century. In addition to war & politics and declining birth rates, emigration is reducing the populations of some less successful countries.

22 – percentage of California schoolchildren who are “white”. Like many other places in the Western world, the Golden State is changing quite significantly.

71 – percentage of Bangladeshi women who are literate (up from about 16% when Bangladesh achieved independence in 1971). The Good News is that literacy is spreading around the world. The increasing focus on education and employment of females may perhaps be related to their then choosing to have fewer children.

375 – percentage increase in cereal production in Ethiopia in the last 25 years. The Good News is that the Green Revolution has been real, and so far the world has avoided Malthus’s predicted starvation trap.


“Demographics: Deglobalization will fix climate change” is a grest article by Anony Mee on Am. Thinker yesterday, rday, having to do o with world population decline.