“Lancet” study on world population

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December 16, 2020


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Why this report is important?


Lancet is a reputed journal and the data revealed by the report is quite different from earlier projected data of United nations on world population.
This report is prepared by the researchers from the Institute for health metrics and evaluation at the university of washington’s school of medicine. The data used to prepare this report has been taken from the global burden of disease study,2017.


Population projections


Lancet study projects the peak of world population at 9.73 billion in 2064. While the United Nation’s report on world’s population prospects published last year projected that the world’s population will peak by 2100 at 11 billion. That means Lancet projects peak of world population 36 years earlier that too not at 11 billion but 9.73 billion. Also, Lancet report projects the world population to decline to 8.79 billion in 2100 after achieving peak in 2064.
However, these projections are not uniform throughout the world. While some countries like Japan have already shown a declining trend with fertility rate less than 2.1% whereas population of many African countries like Nigeria which will keep on growing as late as 2100, making it the second most populous country of the world in 2100. According to report, the global TFR is predicted to steadily decline from 2.37 in 2017 to 1.66 in 2100, well below the replacement level of 2.1.


Population trends in India


The report projects India’s population to peak at 1.6 billion in 2048 and the population of India to decline to 1.09 billion in 2100 from 1.38 billion in 2017 i.e a reduction of 32%. However, if India meets the sustainable development goal targets, 2030 then the population peak would be earlier.
Contrary to this, UN’s report on world population prospects published in 2019, projected that India’s population will peak as late as 2064.The country’s TFR which is currently estimated at 2.2 (just above replacement level) is projected to have continued steep fertility decline untill about 2040, reaching a TFR of 1.29 in 2100.
Objective of this report is to project the potential patterns in future population levels as it is crucial for anticipating and planning for changing age structure of the population. Especially for children in the age group of 0-5 and above 70 years old population. It is an established fact that the changing population size and age structure do have profound economic, social and geopolitical impacts in many countries.
Some important socio, political and economic impacts projected by the report: –


The study has predicted dramatic declines in working age population in countries such as India and China, which will hamper economic growth and lead to shifts in global powers. China is already witnessing decline in working age population which is also one of the main reasons for the for increase in average labour wages. As per prediction, the number of working age adults aged 20-64 in India is projected to fall from around 762 million in 2017 to around 578 million in 2100. But, it is not showing a declining trend in a decade to come. Although, the total working age population will be lesser in 2100 but still will have the largest working age population in 2100.
India is also expected to surpass China’s workforce population in the mid 2020s, according to the report, as the workforce population in China is already declining. This trend is beneficial to India as Indian government is pushing for making India a manufacturing hub as the cheap labour will be readily available for it.