Population Matters statement on Lancet global population forecasts

14 July 2020 immediate use

Population Matters statement on Lancet global population forecasts

In response to a new study which projects that global population will peak in 2064 and decline to by 8.8bn by 2100, Population Matters Executive Director Robin Maynard says:

“No one should be whooping with joy or pressing the panic button as a result of these projections – no population forecast can be relied on. However, these do show that it is possible to avoid the worst-case scenario of a global population growing into the next century, and they offer hope of our numbers being more in line with what our planet can sustain – if we also address the unsustainable consumption of the richest parts of the world.

“None of that can possibly come about unless we robustly pursue the policies that empower people to choose smaller families, such as family planning and women’s empowerment, especially as investment in and delivery of those are currently under huge strain because of the impacts of COVID-19. The authors rightly note the further, appalling danger that governments may even restrict women’s empowerment and reproductive freedom to address exaggerated concerns about lower or ageing populations. We’re already seeing that in Iran, and it’s a subtext in the rhetoric of nationalist, populist politicians from Hungary to Tanzania.

“Ageing populations and the economic risks and opportunities they signify must be planned for and can be planned for, without abusing people’s rights, catastrophising and alarmism. We have the ingenuity and resources to face demographic challenges. True catastrophe lies in a population too big for the planet to sustain, with climate change uncontrolled, biodiversity decimated, too little food and water for everyone’s needs, and billions more trapped in poverty.” 


Contact: Alistair Currie, Head of Campaigns and Communications E: alistair.currie@populationmatters.org T: 0208 123 9170 (24hr)  


Vollset et al, The Lancet, 14 July 2020, Fertility, mortality, migration, and population scenarios for 195 countries and territories from 2017 to 2100: a forecasting analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study

Iranian restrictions on family planning: BBC article

Comments on population and family by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban: Euronews article

Comments by Tanzania’s President Magufuli on family size and contraception: Independent article


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