Thought there’d be a baby boom during Covid? Many did. Worried about ever-expanding population growth? Many did. The surprise for many is that in many countries birth rates are declining to below the ‘replacement rate’. For a population to remain stable, on average a couple needs to produce 2.1 children (Hey, it’s stats, think general population.) The extra 0.1 is to account for people who never have children, children who die early, etc. Several major countries are below the replacement rate. The US and Russia are at 1.6. China and Japan are at 1.3. The good news is that such a reduction alleviates at least some over-population concerns. The bad news it that the reduction also reduces the size of the workforce that sustains the non-working force. The pandemic discouraged some from dealing with a new-born during a lock-down. Urbanization decreased the need for large families that would tend farms. More education also reduces family size. We don’t know how the good and bad news will balance, but the planet may be glad for the relief.
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