Population Workbook

| September 1, 2017 | Leave a Comment

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Media Type: Report / Policy Brief

Date of Publication: September 1, 2017

Year of Publication: 2017

Author(s): Andrew Ferguson, Eric Rimmer

Categories: ,


This work was undertaken in the belief that POPULATION EXPANSION MUST BE STOPPED AND REVERSED, if there is to be any hope for the avoidance of mass starvation, rampant disease and widespread conflict —leading to billions of deaths.

Therefore the authors have calculated the results of reaching a hypothetical voluntary, global agreement from 2020, that all families should have either two children or only one child, and to compare those results with current population projections —revealing that only universal one-child families could solve the problem.

This workbook calculates world population for universal two-child and one-child families from 2020 to 2200 and compares each of those with the medium UN population projection to 2100.

The work book uses UNPD published population figures for 2020* – and then survival rates to 2200** and fertility rates to 2100*** —all using 5 year intervals and 5 year age groups.

Women are assumed to make up half of the total population, at every stage —so for two-child families, each person (mother and father) is allocated one child.

In one-child families, each person is allocated half a child.

The reproductive period for all women is assumed to be between ages 15 and 50 and subsequent population is calculated by taking the average current population size over the 7 relevant 5 year periods.

While the authors do not expect that such an agreement is likely to be reached in the forseeable future – they do believe that this information should be widely circulated, so that there is widespread acceptance that this is the only merciful solution to our population predicament.

The workbook contains tabs considering:

UN Medium Projection

This tab shows the remarkable fact that a UN projected decrease in fertility —down from 2.4 in 2020 to below 2.0 by 2100— results in a steadily increasing population (11.2 Billion by 2100).

This is due to the fact that the decreasing fertility is counterbalanced by the population base being higher as time passes.

Two-Child and One-Child Families

These two tabs calculate world population based on an assumption that by 2020, all families throughout the world could be convinced to have either two children (universal two-child families) —or one child (universal one-child families) and future population is calculated accordingly.  This is different from a strictly average fertility rate calculation.

Using the two-child families’ spread-sheet to explain the methodology, the top table begins with age groups in col A, then in col B are UN population projections for 2020, for each age group.

The number of children born into the 0-4 age group in col C row 8 (five years later) is determined by multiplying the average number of persons in the 15 to 50 year age groups by the number of children per person.

The rest of that column (C9-C28) is calculated by taking the populations in col B, and multiplying them by the relevant survival rate in the lower table.  The applicable cell can be identified from the cell formula

Each subsequent column is calculated in the same way, and totalled to produce the global population at that time.

Comparison Chart

This tab provides a comparison of universal one and two-child families with the UN medium population projection, showing that even the universal two-child family figures remain lower than the UN projection.

Two-Child Families to 2550

This tab shows that even though the hypothetical decrease to 2-child families would stop the global population rising above 10 billion, it would take until 2480 to get back to the present population level.

Mixed TFR’s

The last tab shows the need to bear in mind the weakness of  an average fertility rate.

It shows the distortion produced by two sections of a population having different TFR’s. 75% of world population is calculated at a TFR of 1.8 and 25% at a TFR of 2.6. That would be an average TFR of 2.0.

But when the two total populations are added together, the difference becomes manifest by 2080; and a hundred years later, the 25% with a TFR of 2.6 will have caused population to expand by more than 3 billion as compared to a universal compliance with 2 children per family. That is due to the smaller population of the higher TFR increasing much more rapidly

The authors thank the UN Population Division**** for readily providing them with data that formed the basis for this workbook —which the authors had sent to the Division for comment.

UNDP regretted that they didn’t have the time to check the details of the results, but commented that the authors have some interesting graphs and ways of presenting information, and thanked them for sharing.

Understandably, UNDP added that projecting to a far horizon (2550) can be seen as a bit risky.

The authors incorporated the UNDP suggestion to widen the original age-range for reproduction, to match their own.

* UN Population Division Total Population Both Sexes and select Medium Variant tab and World (top-line) Figs.

** UN Population Division Survival Rates Medium Variant 2010-2050 and 2050-2100, column K, survival rates.

*** Total fertility by major area, region and country, 1950-2100 (children per woman)

**** United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2015). World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision, DVD Edition

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The views and opinions expressed through the MAHB Website are those of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect an official position of the MAHB. The MAHB aims to share a range of perspectives and welcomes the discussions that they prompt.
  • Max Kummerow

    The one and two child simulations could be usefully expanded by looking at numbers in between. It seems to me the way fertility transitions have worked in developed countries has been that once women have near universal access to modern contraception and a small family norm (say 1 or 2 children, then fertility rates fall a good ways under replacement, in the range of 1.2-1.8 quite commonly. So, it seems to me talking about a two child maximum is enough to get fertility down to well below 2 if universally adopted. And it might be an easier sell than one–sounds like replacing the couple with two. But the practical steps are to ramp up attention to family planning and limits to growth and family planning aid to poor countries. And attention to public opinion on issues like abortion–where propaganda has managed to make lies into articles of faith. Abortion is not murder, despite the slogans.

  • Mark

    Half the population, halve the problems.