TEHRAN – Population growth affects economic development, employment, income distribution, poverty, health and social protection. To address the future needs of individuals more sustainably, policymakers need to understand how many people live on the planet, where they are, how old they are and how many people will follow them.
It took hundreds of thousands of years for the world population to grow to 1 billion – then it has grown sevenfold in just 200 years or so. In 2011, the world population reached the 7 billion mark. It stands at almost 7.9 billion in 2021, and it is expected to grow to about 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050 and 10.9 billion in 2100.
This dramatic growth has been largely driven by increasing numbers of people surviving to reproductive age and has been accompanied by major changes in fertility rates, increasing urbanization and accelerated migration. These trends will have far-reaching implications for future generations.
The recent past has seen enormous changes in fertility rates and life expectancy. In the early 1970s, women each had an average of 4.5 children; by 2015, total fertility for the world had dropped to below 2.5 children per woman. Meanwhile, average global life expectancy has risen, from 64.6 years in the early 1990s to 72.6 years in 2019.
In addition, the world is seeing high levels of urbanization and accelerated migration. 2007 was the first year that more people lived in urban areas than in rural areas, and by 2050, about 66 percent of the world’s population will live in cities, the UN says.
These mega-trends have far-reaching implications. They affect economic development, employment, income distribution, poverty and social protection. They also influence efforts to ensure universal access to health care, education, housing, sanitation, water, food and energy.
The average global life expectancy rose from 64.6 years in the early 1990s to 72.6 years in 2019. But progress is not universal, which throws inequality into razor-sharp relief. The same concerns and challenges raised 11 years ago remain or have worsened: climate change, violence and discrimination. The world reached a particularly grim milestone in May: More than 100 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide.
In an ideal world, 8 billion people means 8 billion opportunities for healthier societies empowered by rights and choices. But the playing field is not and has never been level. On the basis of, among other things, gender, ethnicity, class, religion, sexual orientation, disability and origin, too many are still exposed to discrimination, harassment and violence. We do ourselves no favors when we neglect those who are left behind.
Let no alarmist heading divert attention from the work: investing in human and physical capital for inclusive, productive societies that uphold human and reproductive rights. Only then can we tackle the enormous challenges facing our planet and forge a world where health, dignity and education are rights and realities, not privileges and empty promises. In a world of 8 billion, there must always be room for possibility.
Challenges facing Iranian population growth
The productive and young manpower is a factor in the economic and social growth of countries. Certainly, every society needs a young population to walk the path of development.
The first clause of the general population policy states that the development, dynamics, maturity and youth population of a nation depend on the increase in the fertility rate and population growth.
Iran is experiencing fertility under-replacement – below 2.1 children per woman – indicating that a generation is not producing enough children to replace itself, ultimately leading to a complete reduction in population.
According to the population and housing census, average population growth has slowed over the past few years, and this declining trend is a serious warning.
The country’s elderly population is expected to almost double over the next 20 years, while this trend will occur in other countries over the next 100 years.
The aging of the population and its negative consequences will permeate the political, economic and security position of the country in the region and the world.
A decree issued by President Ebrahim Raisi has been notified to the Ministry of Health and the Vice-Presidency of Women and Family Affairs by the Majlis (Iranian parliament).
The plan stipulates health insurance for infertile couples, provision of services and facilities to working women, provision of health and nutrition support packages to mothers and children, educational opportunities for student mothers, provision of subsistence support to families, and ongoing medical services to pregnant women; if properly implemented.
FB / MG