The declining birth rate of any social group, especially a country as a whole, threatens the survival of its culture in its expansionist form. It has more immediate implications in terms of the proportion of active workers available to support those of pensionable age. Shifts in the size of age groups also have severe implications for the future of particular businesses and services, notably those for young people.
Several countries are experiencing steep population declines, most notably Japan, where projections from the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research (2015) are that the Japanese population will fall by 900,000 a year, reducing the nation’s population by one-third by 2045. The number of babies per woman in Japan is the same as in Germany, Switzerland and Croatia. The birth rate in Italy, Portugal and Monaco is identical to the birth rate in Japan.
Russia expects to be down to 111 million citizens by 2050, a drop from 143 million in 2018, although that might have as much to do with high mortality rates as with low birth rates.
The birth rate in the USA has been on a steady decline since 2008, with a three percent drop in 2017, a record low for the second consecutive year. Although there are seven percent more women of childbearing age in 2018 than ten years ago, half a million fewer babies were born. While expanded use of birth control may explain the trend, there is also evidence that sexual activity in the US is on the decline.
The current worldwide tendency for actual population decrease or reductions in rate of increase may help developing countries raise their living standards, but will also require adjustments in both developed and developing countries, particularly in providing security to the elderly. This will be even more the case by the 21st century. Nations will experience a marked reduction in the number of children entering the age group of compulsory schooling and, progressively, in that of the age groups entering universities, military service, and growing up to be productive members of society in terms of both wages earned and ideas/creations returned to society.
Any decline in population growth is a relief on already overstrained planetary resources.