The Covid-19 pandemic may have fast-tracked the oncoming peak of a global population decline by at least a decade, according to a recent report. The pandemic has slowed the already slowing global birth rates, from the United States (US) to China and India.
In recent weeks, at least two Indian state governments – Uttar Pradesh and Assam – have advocated aggressive population control, with the chief minister of Assam asking Muslims to adopt family planning and also declaring a policy that large families will stand to lose certain state benefits.
Population control, grounded in classic economic theories, has been a double-edged sword. It has both advantages and costs. In over half of the world’s nations, the rate of population growth is falling behind replacement rates, and, perhaps for the first time, the growth rate in the world’s population is projected to be zero by the end of the century, according to United Nations (UN) data.
The economics of population, which started with Malthus, is now undergoing revisions. One example is that China hopes to reverse a fall in its population by raising the maximum allowable number of children per household from two to three.
Some well-known economic hypotheses led governments to aggressively control population to spur growth, the objective of growth being central to the politics of all low- and middle-income countries.