Global Demographic Collapse

It’s not just European secular types who are failing to replace themselves. Every region on the planet that is not already hovering at or just below replacement rate is suffering a precipitous collapse of live births per female. Third World fertility is plummeting, much faster than it did in the developed world. If current trends continue, the whole world will be at or below replacement levels in just a few years.

Google apps has a great interactive chart that allows the user to look at demographic trends from any country or region on the globe, using data from the World Bank.  This link will take you to a version of the chart that shows female fertility by region; it tells the story of the demographic collapse. It’s a pretty cool app. Be patient with it, as every request for a change in the data displayed takes about 15 seconds to render (this may account for our inability to embed the app here at Orthosphere).

I don’t think this portends the end of the species. All it means is that in a century the only people alive will be those born to parents who *intended* to have children, or else were really stupid. At that point, female fertility will have begun to soar again.

Falling birth rates have usually spelled poverty, as the pool of able-bodied young workers shrinks and the population of aged retirees grows. But it needn’t be so. Manufacturing technologies now coming on line bid fair to increase labor productivity by an order of magnitude, so that we can keep getting more prosperous even though we have fewer workers.

But if there is no economic collapse, how will liberalism ever be repudiated? If we keep getting more prosperous, despite a collapsing population of workers, how will we ever feel enough economic pain to abandon modernism? Never fear: even when high technology enables fantastic prosperity, corrupt fools governing corrupt fools can arrange for horrific catastrophe. Look at agricultural technology, for example. In technological terms, we have been perfectly capable of feeding everyone on the planet a healthy diet for several decades now. But we don’t; basically because people are sinners.

Sinfulness, of which corruption and foolishness are departments, will produce disaster no matter how wonderfully clement the objective circumstances. So, count on liberalism to generate a totally unnecessary economic collapse, which will prompt people to question liberalism. That, coupled with the fact that liberals are not replacing themselves, so that religious trads will sooner or later inherit the earth, should dispose of the problem posed to man by secular modernism. When that eventually happens, I guess we’ll find out what big problem we shall next impose upon ourselves. It’s always something.

11 thoughts on “Global Demographic Collapse

  1. “That, coupled with the fact that liberals are not replacing themselves, so that religious trads will sooner or later inherit the earth, should dispose of the problem posed to man by secular modernism.”

    Well that would include Mohammedanism…. so, the news is not so good after all! This is actually depressing, especially since the liberals, as a parting gift that keeps giving, have “invited” the followers of Mohammed, en masse, into our countries….

  2. Yes, you’ve described the long-term reactionary plan for victory. Survive, have lots of children, and homeschool them. Then help them marry off early and have even more homeschooled children. Beating the Moslems once the liberals are out of the way should be no big problem—its the death throes of liberalism that concern me most.

  3. Well, in terms of what is coming-up over the medium term, the world population is predicted to increased by another billion in the next couple of decades with more to come – in the sense that many more people are expected to be born than die.

    But of course people may die in increasing numbers due to starvation, disease and violence – demographers cannot predict that.

    But the rapid increase in world population over the past 200 years was generated by technological improvements which spread from very few individual people in very few nations in a tiny part of the world – there is no reason to suppose that technological impoprvements will continue or even be sustained in the absence of their creators.


    The usual human fertility pattern through history has been of high fertility and high mortality rates – and the groups with lowest mortality were those which grew.

    At present mortality rates are very low, everywhere, by historic standards – so that differential fertility has become all important; and the only groups which are growing are those with high fertility.


    In terms of what will cause the collapse of ‘liberalism’ and when – I don’t know, there are many possible causes, and the may come into effect today or in a few years time. We will not need to wait for fertility differentials to gather momentum.

    But the type of self-loathing and suicidal Leftism which rules now can only be sustained by a vast mass media for propaganda and distraction – so unless the media can continue to grow in size, pervasiveness, influence, then that in itself would be enough to end things.


    The main significance of the incredible collapse in fertility among Western elites is *diagnostic* (rather than predictive) – ultra-low chosen fertility is conclusive evidence of fundamental, biological and spiritual wrongness.

    And the nature of attempts to deny this link between deliberate population subfertility and spiritual disease themselves prove the link beyond reasonable doubt.

    A group which chooses to stop reproducing, and even celebrates the fact, is a group that knows it is deeply wrong in its basic worldview.

    • A group which chooses to stop reproducing, and even celebrates the fact, is a group that knows it is deeply wrong in its basic worldview.

      This is a great insight, thank you, Bruce. It’s like a dog that knows he is sick to death. He doesn’t thrash about trying to prolong his life, he retreats to a hole in the ground and stops eating and drinking.

  4. Pingback: I am the future « Traditional Christianity

  5. Sorry, Kristor, but dropping from 7-8 kids per woman to 5.1 kids per woman is not a “demographic collapse”.

    Population don’t even START to shrink until the TFR gets down to a rate of about 2.2 kids per woman. If the entire world was at 2.0 TFR ALREADY, now THAT would be a “collapse”.

    If you look at population growth, the results are shocking. Massive African population growth (due to 5.1 TFR) will continue for the better part of a century. That is what a TFR of 5.1 means. And if you think you know how Africans are going to breed in 10 years, let alone 20 or 50 years you are kidding yourself.

    The UN statistics are based on century long models that estimate Africans are all going to get peaceful Western-style governnments, eliminate corruption and tribalism, set up non-discriminatory national social security programs that will take care of everybody in their old age, fund women’s liberation and college education so they reject childbearing like white women have, and THEN get the TFR below a replacement level of 2.2.

    But what idiot actually thinks Africans are going to do that? And since the yare NOT going to do that (and indeed since that liberal education western culture model is failing to provide for childless old white folks) why in God’s name do you think that African are going to follow a dead end path like that? Of COURSE the African population is going to keep massively growing.

    • Big Bill, you’re not saying anything that contradicts either me or the chart. It’s not about population – which, of course, does seem likely to continue to grow in Africa for some time to come, barring a spike in mortality over there – but about fertility. I never even talked about population.

      You are of course correct that it is a chancy business to suppose that current slopes of fertility are going to continue unchanged over the next decades. But, ditto, likewise, for thinking that they will not, or that they will reverse course; ditto also for thinking that current trends in population are stable, so that “Massive African population growth will continue for the better part of a century” is just noise; not in the sense that you are talking nonsense, but that no information about the future yet exists to be known. If we want to be really rigorous, all we can say about the future is, something will happen. But if we are thoroughly rigorous in that fasion, we’ll have to forswear planning altogether.

      But the chart is not, after all, about the future. It describes the past, and makes no projections. It notes that fertility worldwide, even in the Third World, has been and is collapsing. And that is a fact both interesting and overlooked.

      You argue that the projection of falling African fertility is founded upon a UN assumption that Africa will become like the West, which obviously isn’t going to happen. I agree that Westernization seems like a forlorn hope for Africa. But the interesting thing about the World Bank data is that they provide a beautiful counterexample to your theory about Westernization or modernization causing decreases in fertility: Africa’s fertility is falling *despite* the fact that she has manifestly failed to modernize. The theory that Westernization leads to dropping fertility may be correct, but obviously there must be more at work in Africa than that; i.e., the theory that Westernization => Lower Fertility may be correct, but may not be the only correct theory.

      What is the correct theory? Maybe just the spread of cheap birth control, I don’t know.

  6. Pingback: Is the Orthosphere Conservative? « The Orthosphere

  7. Pingback: No Flood Needed This Time Around | The Orthosphere

  8. Pingback: Feminism versus the Gedanken Policy Test – The Orthosphere


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.