(C-Fam) During this week’s observance of World Population Day, global family planning proponents identified crises such as humanitarian emergencies and the global financial downturn to justify more funding to limit the world’s population. Meanwhile, their critics discredited population programs and raised awareness about rapid population decline and the crisis of global aging.
The primary argument family planning proponents used for more funding was the theory of a “demographic dividend,” by which fewer children would lead to more savings, higher education and better health per child, and more time for women to engage in work outside the home. As in years past, advocates pointed to the 1960s-1990s Asian Tigers as evidence that the theory works. The reference had the alternative effect of highlighting the fact that there are no other examples beyond the Tigers. Latin American and Middle Eastern nations, who enacted similar policies, did not get the same boost in economic growth. In Europe, industrialization was not the result of smaller families, but rather the opposite was true.
This week the governments of the same Asian nations released new figures showing the long-term negative economic effects of family planning programs.
The Bank of Korea warned that demographic trends could lead the country’s economy to generate near-zero growth in ten years. Japan’s population fell faster last year than any time since the government’s survey started in 1968. Last week, Tokyo said that despite measures to address its aging population and loss of economic power, the Japanese population contracted by 308,084 in 2016, its eighth consecutive year of decline. Japanese young people are abstaining from relationships in what some call an “epidemic of virginity.” China’s population is aging faster than anywhere, and the number of dependents upon each worker is expected to rise to as high as forty-four percent by 2050.
The UN Population Division’s biennial report, issued just before World Population Day, said fertility is falling globally and half the world’s nations have fertility rates below the replacement level of just over two children per woman. The number of people aged eighty or more is projected to triple by 2050, and European population to decrease by 25 million in that time.
Because of the rapid population decline in the West, the report characterized African fertility rates as high, although total fertility there fell from 5.1 births per woman in 2000-2005 to 4.7 in 2010-2015. Population advocates used the report as evidence of a crisis in India and Africa, especially in Nigeria, which the report projected would overtake the U.S. as the third most populous nation by 2050.
The UN Population Fund and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation called on Nigeria’s government to declare a state of emergency due to its projected high population. The groups convened with global family planning advocates in London this week to garner more government funding for African family planning.
Joachin Ulasi, the director of Nigeria’s National Population Commission in Anambra State, pushed back, saying that at 180 million-strong, Nigeria is not over-populated. “We are lucky to be middle-heavy,” Ulasi said. “If you go to Britain, you will notice that they have top-heavy population which means that they have more old people. In Nigeria, we have more young people who are productive and that shows that our population is of quality, and if we manage our population well, Nigeria will be able to produce what it needs as a nation.”
LifeNews.com Note: Susan Yoshihara writes for the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute. This article originally appeared in the pro-life group’s Friday Fax publication and is used with permission.