WORLD - Decline of World Population

Arno Froese

All over the world, countries are confronting population stagnation and a fertility bust, a dizzying reversal unmatched in recorded history that will make first-birthday parties a rarer sight than funerals, and empty homes a common eyesore.

Maternity wards are already shutting down in Italy. Ghost cities are appearing in northeastern China. Universities in South Korea cannot find enough students, and in Germany, hundreds of thousands of properties have been razed, with the land turned into parks.

A planet with fewer people could ease pressure on resources, slow the destructive impact of climate change and reduce household burdens for women. But the census announcements this month from China and the United States, which showed the slowest rates of population growth in decades for both countries, also point to hard-to-fathom adjustments.

Expectant mothers in many areas can no longer find obstetricians or postnatal care centers. Universities below the elite level, especially outside Seoul, find it increasingly hard to fill their ranks; the number of 18-year-olds in South Korea has fallen from about 900,000 in 1992 to 500,000 today. To attract students, some schools have even offered iPhones.

Many demographers argue that the current moment may look to future historians like a period of transition or gestation, when humans either did or did not figure out how to make the world more hospitable—enough for people to build the families that they want.

Surveys in many countries show that young people would like to be having more children but face too many obstacles.

-www.nytimes.com, 24 May 2021

Arno's Commentary

We remember the alarmists from the 1960s and 70s, speaking of population explosion. Quite apparently, that is no longer the case. Although in some countries there is substantial population increase, in virtually all rich countries (that is, industrialized) the birth rate continues to fall. 

Governments the world over desperately try to hold off the decline; but in most cases, they are not successful.

While generous compensation, implemented decades ago, is granted for parents and their newborns, it does not seem to work—for example, in Germany. Depending on the type of employment, mothers can take up to two years off, and sometimes father are included for six months. Their jobs are fully protected. Child support has been standard procedure throughout much of Europe and part of Asia.

What is the reason for the decline? The answer is almost too simple: materialism and possessions. The more one owns, the less he is inclined to have more children.

Not too long ago, it was said that the Muslim population in Europe would one day outnumber the original inhabitants. That, however, also did not materialize, as immigrants—legal and illegal—are absorbed into the prevailing European culture. Their birth rate has experienced a noticeable reduction, mostly based on the prosperity experienced in the new country. 

The Bible has this to say: “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward…Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate” (Psalm 127:3, 5).

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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