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What is odd about the article is that it suggests that overall, global population decline is going to be a serious issue with very high populations of older folks with very few younger folks around to take care of them. While that may be true in some places like Italy and South Korea, the reality is that global population is really not expected to decline at all by 2100. In fact, right now, the global population is about 8 billion and the population in 2100 is predicted to be 8.8 billion. Certainly the population is expected to decline after the world hits a peak population of around 9.7 billion people in the middle of the 21st century, but there is no global exponential decline expected for generations--and by that time, the model will have to be changed based on new data and conditions.
The other part of the article that I found odd is that there is an overall sense that the environmental footprint of human activity is going to decline due to these changes. The article references loss of populations in Germany and how that led to the demolition of thousands of residential buildings. While this may be true, many parts of the world are experiencing the exact opposite as I noted in my piece here on the population crisis in Egypt. Africa is experiencing a population boom while many areas in Europe and South Asia are seeing populations contract.
The article also notes that the population decline could somehow ease environmental problems like resource scarcity and climate change. However, the data really do not suggest this at all. The global population will be higher in 2100 than it is today. Plus, we all know that globally we are using more resources per capita than any time in global history. Even if population declined a small percentage from where we are at today (which is not what is expected to occur) we would still have significant recourse and climate change problems. It is easy to equate population decline with improving environmental conditions, but environmental improvement is not just how many fewer people there are on the planet, but how the people on the planet chose to live.
Population is definitely a hard thing to write about. The numbers are hard to predict and population planning is difficult to discuss in some quarters. However, when looking plainly at the data referenced in the article, you can draw very different conclusions and inferences than those put forward by the authors in the Times piece.