The replacement fertility rate is 2.1 but Korea has a fertility rate of 0.78 and many countries like China are at 1.18. South Korea is the only country that has fertility rate under 1 based on 2020 OECD statistics. According to the 2022 Census Report by Statistics Korea, the total fertility rate — the average number of children a woman bears in her lifetime — fell to 0.78, losing 0.03 from the previous year to a fresh low since related data was kept track from 1970. Korea’s fertility rate at 4 in the early 1970s plunged to 3.77 in 1974, 2.99 in 1977, and 1.74 in 1984.
South Korea’s total population is expected to fall below the 50 million threshold in 2029 and drop under 30 million in 2076. By 2100, the population will reach just 16.5 million and stop at 1 million in 2,300. The scary estimation is based on the assumption that Koreas’ birthrate recovers to above 1 from 2030.
The UN medium forecast for China’s population in 2100 is 765 million but this estimate assumes that China’s fertility rate recovers from 1.18 to 1.48. If China had a fertility rate of 0.98 for the remainder of the century then China’s population in 2100 would be 488 million.
If China’s fertility rate drops to 1.1 and holds that level then China would end up with a population of about 600 million in 2100. There is currently no reason to believe the UN medium forecast that fertility rates in most developed countries will improve by 20-40% from current levels.
If China follow South Korea’s fertility levels from 2100-2300 then China would have a population of less than 40 million in 2300. If all countries had fertility rates of 1, then world population would be less than 200 million people in 2300. These population projections assume there is no radical life extension technology created and widely deployed.
The Lancet had a projection that world population peaks at about 9.7 billion in 2069 and falls to 8.5 billion in 2100. This forecast assumes that the global fertility rate only drops to 1.7 by 2100. World population could drop to 6.3 to 6.8 billion by 2100, if the low income countries in Africa and Asia get more education and economic development than the UN forecast.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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