World population may peak by 2050, just a bit larger than today:

 a new report states that if global society takes a “Giant Leap” in terms of investment in economic development, education, and health, the world population may peak at around 8.5 billion people by 2050.

STUDY: World population could peak at 8.5 billion people by the 2050s (

This is in line with other estimates from other population demographers who think the world is not going to climb to 11 billion people. 75% of today’s population lives in countries with fertility rates that will lead to population declines; many of the remainder are seeing declining fertility rates now. India is down to 2.3 and falling.

Major factors are that deaths exceed births in many areas now, fertility rates are well below 2.1 (replacement level) and continuing to fall. This occurs when women are educated and empowered, and due to increasing urban living. When most people lived on farms, lots of kids spread out over the years became free labor. (Plus many children just 100 years ago did not survive to age 5 due to childhood diseases – the effect is that child mortality is now essentially zero.) But in cities, more kids are a cost – more expensive housing, vehicles, and everything that goes with that. When kids are no longer a benefit, but a cost, there will not be as many kids.

Important – we have no model for our economy when population is in decline. We’ve always based our economy and a growing population where the younger generations are larger than the older generations that preceded them. When populations are shrinking it means fewer workers, fewer buyers – and a harder time for businesses to “grow their business”. No one knows what this means for the future but I have proposed it could mean a change from an ownership model to a rental model. We see this today with software – what you once “owned” you now must pay an annual subscription for instead. In this way, businesses turn a one time buyer into a lifetime (of the product) customer. We may see many more products move to a subscription model – indeed, BMW and some other car makers are already incorporating vehicle features that you only get to use if you pay them a monthly fee. I am not so sure that customers want this but manufacturers and service providers like this model.

Coldstreams Skeptic