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A new study by researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has found that the global fertility rate has nearly halved to 2.4 in 2017 and is expected to fall below 1.7 by 2100. Falling fertility rates mean nearly every country could have shrinking populations by the end of the century with 23 countries including Spain, Japan, Portugal and Thailand expected to see their populations halve by the year 2100. China, the most populated nation in the world, is expected to peak at 1.4 billion in four years’ time before nearly halving to 732 million by 2100. The UK is predicted to peak at 75 million in 2063, and fall to 71 million by 2100. The fall in fertility rates is due to more women in education and work, greater access to contraception and women choosing to have fewer children. Researchers say that the world is ill prepared for the decline in the number of children being born and an increasingly aging population. Prof Ibrahim Abubakar, University College London (UCL), said: “If these predictions are even half accurate, migration will become a necessity for all nations and not an option. To be successful we need a fundamental rethink of global politics. The distribution of working-age populations will be crucial to whether humanity prospers or withers.” Read more here.

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