Canada will have to rely on immigration as global fertility rate drops: study


TORONTO – Canada’s current openness to immigration must continue if the country is to maintain one of the world’s largest economies for the rest of the century, says new study projects global population and local economic trends 2100. The study, which was published Tuesday in The Lancet, focuses primarily on an expected decline in the world’s population as fertility rates fall in the second half of the 21st century.

He predicts that the world population will peak in 2064 at 9.73 billion people. By 2100 – less than two generations later – that number will be almost a billion lower, and almost three-quarters of the 195 countries included in the study will not produce enough children to maintain their workforce .

“Once the decline in the world’s population begins, it will likely continue inexorably,” wrote the researchers behind the study.

The study predicts that Canada’s population will peak later in the century, near 45.2 million in 2078, and will decrease slightly to 44.1 million in 2100.

According to the researchers, a declining population is “potentially good news” for the fight against climate change, but not enough by itself to save the planet from serious environmental effects.

Declining populations can also cause economic damage, as fewer people are available to work. One way to compensate for this is to accept large numbers of immigrants to make up the difference, as Canada has been doing for decades.

Researchers expect Canada to become an even larger center of immigration over the next 80 years, predicting that we will have the highest net migration rate in the world – less emigrant immigrants – by 2100, before Turkey and Sweden. This would happen despite the “constant flow” of migrants which is drying up somewhat, while developing countries are improving their education systems and their quality of life.

All this immigration would see Canada replace Russia as the 10th world economy by 2030 and remain there for the rest of the century, even if Nigeria and Australia put Brazil and Italy out of the top 10, according to forecasts.

“As long as these immigration policies continue, our baseline scenario has shown sustained population growth and an expansion of the workforce … with concomitant economic growth,” the researchers wrote.

“The optimal strategy for economic growth, budgetary stability and geopolitical security is liberal immigration with effective assimilation in these societies. ”

In countries where immigration is not used to maintain workforce and GDP, researchers wrote, governments may instead seek to encourage parents to have more children, such as baby bonuses and paid parental leave. They warned that there is also a “very real danger” that “some states are considering adopting policies that restrict women’s rights in reproductive health”.

Failure to take measures to maintain the size of the labor force could leave countries in a position where they must raise taxes considerably or run the risk of seeing health insurance and social security programs collapse, according to the researchers.

The study was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and carried out by researchers at the University of Washington.


In addition to their overall projections, the researchers looked at what would happen if the world accelerated or slowed its progress towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on women’s education and needs contraception. “Many countries are not on track” to achieve these goals, they said.

These factors make a significant difference in the forecast. Slower movement toward these goals would lead to a global population of 13.6 billion and further increase in 2100, the researchers found, while the pace required to fully reach the SDGs by 2100 would see the world’s population peak. 2046 and fall to 6.29 billion by the end of the century as fertility rates fall.

The differences are less pronounced in Canada, where migration is expected to have a much greater impact on demographic trends than global fertility trends. Study predicts that with slower progress toward the SDGs, Canada’s population will peak in 2086 at just over 46.1 million, less than a million more than the projection based on current rates . Achieving the SDGs by 2100 would have a greater impact, with the population peaking at around 42 million in the mid-2050s and falling to 37 million by 2100.

Researchers say these large variations show the effect that political policies can have on people and long-term economic outcomes.

“Understanding the potential patterns of future population levels is crucial to anticipating and planning for changing age structures, resource and health care needs, and environmental and economic landscapes,” they wrote.

Other highlights from the 2100 world study projections include:

  • The top five countries, by population, will be India, Nigeria, China, the United States, and Pakistan

  • China will barely have half of its current population, while that of India will shrink by around 300 million and the American population will be relatively unchanged

  • Japan, Spain, Italy and 20 other countries will lose half or more of their population in 2017

  • Almost half of the world’s population will be in Africa while the population of the sub-Saharan part of the continent triples

  • Life expectancy will continue to increase, albeit slowly, around 89 in the most advanced countries

  • The average age of a human, which was 32.6 years in 2017, will be 46.2 years

  • There will be more than six times more people over the age of 80 than in 2017

  • The number of children under five will be 41% lower than it was in 2017

  • Although China will eclipse the United States as the world’s largest economic power by 2035, the United States will resume this title in 2098


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