In the March 2007 issue of Science and Technique published by TUBITAK, Elif YILMAZ tries to reflect the prospects of world population. In her article, Elif YILMAZ draws attention balances of the world population in 2050. According to the calculations of the Population Division of the United Nations, the population of the world was 6,5 billions in 2005 and will increase to 9,1 billions in 2050 according to its projections. So the population which we reach in millions of years will increase 50% only within 50 years.
When we take a look at the table, it is projected that annual rate of increase of total population will be 0,38%. The population will increase in 0,4% in poor countries however the population of the rich countries will decrease for next 20 years, and an increase rate of -0,14% will be observed for them. It is foreseen that the populations of the most developed 30 countries in 2050 will be less than their present populations. For example, the population of Japan, Italy, and Russian Federation will successively decrease in 14%, 22%, and 29%. On the contrary, it is stated that population of the poor countries will rise to 7,7 billions in 2050. It is anticipated that fertility rates of the underdeveloped countries will decrease in the expected level between 2030-2035. However when it is considered that the fertility rates in some underdeveloped countries will be higher than planned, it is estimated that number of children per a woman will increase. In addition, it is stated that mortality rates in the rich and poor countries will be closer, and the difference will decrease. But for this, it is required to improve living conditions in the underdeveloped countries. While average life expectancy for all through the world is 65,4 for 2004-2005, this will rise to 74,2 between 2045-2050. Of course, this average is already reached and passed in rich countries. The life expectancy at birth will rise to 82 for these countries which is 76 for 2000-2005.
Recently, scientists begin to make projections on the crowdedness of the world, which are different than previous projections. Recent data shows a general decline trend in the population increase rate. Yet the authorities begin to define the reduction in the fertility rate particularly in the developed countries almost as risky. While the rate of economically active young population decreases in the developed countries, aged people composes of the greater rate of the population. Of course, this will result in various consequences. First of all, there will be no such number of consumers which will keep consumption expenses in the present level. Also there will be a certain decrease in the employable labor force, and since employees decrease wages will increase. The armies will keep less number of soldier for defense and these countries will incur loss of reputation. In the light of this data, scientists say that a little gap in the population may cause recession or even a more severe and great crisis in economy. Furthermore, as aged population increase, the number of retired persons will also increase. But contribution amount for retired people will increase as employable population does not increase accordingly. In other words, retired person per employed persons will increase. This situation will cause developed countries to revise retirement legislation and social security systems.
On the other hand, scarcity of young population also provides some benefits for the developed countries. The juvenile person under 15 which creates almost half of the developing countries population will create less than 20% of the population of the developed countries. Lesser number of juvenile population firstly means less resources will be reserved for education and other supports. In addition to this, if it is considered that inclination to crime most widely appears between the ages 15-30, it can be told that crime rates will be also be low. Other superiorities of non-aging population can be listed as decrease in the infrastructural requirements like roads, buildings, school, etc. and less pressure for creation of new business areas.
Apart from the problems which should be dealt, this decrease trend in the population of the developed countries provides a substantial benefit for the remaining of the world. We all know that rapid increase in population means destruction of natural life areas, pollution, and high levels of power consumption. This creates more problems for overpopulated regions like Europe and Asia. For example, USA spends 25% of the natural resources and produces 25-30% of the total waste and garbage although only 4,6% of the world population inhabits there. An average American consumes steel 50 times, more than an Indian and 56 times more power, 170 times inorganic rubber and paper, 300 times plastic. Each American consumes cereals as much as 5 Kenyans, and power as much as 35 Indians or 150 Bangladeshis or 500 Ethiopians. This may mean that lesser population in the developed countries lesser consumption of natural resources, loss of bio-diversity, pollution, and distance between the rich and the poor.
In fact, it would not be so realistic to consider that population will increase non-stop. If we wish to maintain our civilization on this planet with limited resources, human will tend to decrease population sooner or later. In a research conducted by a group of researchers of Stanford University, they calculated the optimum population for the world. They calculated that maximum 2 billions may live easily where requirements of the modern life is met, power systems and resources are used in high efficiency, and the gap between the rich and poor is diminished. One third of our present population.
In Turkey, the population of Turkey is 67,8 millions according to the Census 2000. This increases about 73 millions according to 2005 estimations. Our population increases 5 times since 1927. But population increase rate tends to decrease in last 15 years in accordance with the common global trend. However, our population will increase to 90,5 millions in 2025 and 101,2 millions in 2050 by exceeding 100 millions limit. Our population increase rate will be 1,29% in 2005-2010 while it will be 0,2% in 2045-2050. As our population increase rate decreases, life expectancy at birth increases. While average life of a person is 43,6 years in 1950-1955, this increases in 68 in 2000s, and life expectancy at birth in our country rises to 77,7 in the projections for 2045-2050. We will no longer be a country having a younger population. Possible consequences of this will firstly be restructuring or revision of health and insurance services for the aged population. Slow down of the increase of younger population is an indicator for the end of the concentration on the quantity issues in the education and give sufficient weight to the educational quality from now on. According to the population increase data, improvement of the existing schools and increase in the educational quality may become the primary objective since the child number will not increase proportional with previous periods.
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