The collapsing Birthrate
In Western and Central Europe and in Japan, the birthrate has already fallen well below the rate needed to reproduce the population. That is, below 2.1 live births for women of reproduce age. Italy’s population - now 60 million - might be down to 20 or 22 million. Japan’s population - now 125 million - might be down to 50 or 55 million. But even in Western and Northern Europe the birthrates are down to 1.5 and falling. But in the USA, too, the birthrate is now below 2 and going down steadily. And it is as high as it is only because of the large number of recent immigrants. In Japan, Southern Europe, including Germany, the population is already peaking. In the United States it is still growing for the next 25 years. But more important is the age distribution within the population. For example in Italy by the year 2080, a very small number will be under fifteen, and a very large number (one third) above 60. In the United States the young population is already growing much more slowly than the older population. But by 2015 the younger population will start to decrease. There is nothing - except massive immigration- that can prevent a sharp drop in the labor force by 2025 in the US and earlier in other countries. And there is no precedent for this. This has not happened before. For the last 200 years the population has been growing. So the strategy of all companies and institutions will have to be based, from now on, on the totally different assumption of a shrinking population. An aging population is nothing new. Life expectancies have increased and within the next twenty to thirty years the retirement age in all developed countries will have to move up to around 79 (compared to 1936 it is the same as 65). Similarly, there is nothing particularly new in the growth of the population in the Third World. It is growing in a similar way to developed countries and it is quite certain that the population growth will level-off before it reaches...
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