We are reaching a turning point in the history of mankind.
Will the global population exceed 11 billion by 2100? This is the latest UN forecast, based on a world population growth of 1.10% per year. While this figure may be hypothetical, it is telling of the demographic changes we are currently experiencing.
Resources, climate, conflicts, migration, urbanization, aging, geopolitics... Today, demography is at the heart of all major contemporary societal issues. Each area of the globe is affected differently by population trends. Africa, for instance, has not yet completed its demographic transition, while an aging Europe is expected to see its population stagnate, and then shrink by 2050. Asia is a very diverse territory, and encompasses a Japan in decline and an India in full boom.
In reaction to this multitude of changes, a large number of myths are emerging. These are sources of concern among the ruling classes as well as within civil societies. Will we all be able to live on planet Earth in 2100? How will we cope with migration flows? What impact will demographic changes have on global geopolitics, conflicts and climate?
Underestimating the societal, environmental, political and geopolitical effects of demographic and migration trends would be a mistake.
Nevertheless, it is essential to privilege an analysis of these developments based on facts. The demographic issue is too often the topic of passionate and irrational debates, particularly regarding the migration issue. Moreover, demographic and economic growths are too often associated with one another, while the age pyramid, the situation of the labor market, the institutional, political, legal and cultural landscape are often disregarded. The aim of this paper is therefore to emphasize, in an objective way, the forecasts of population trends and the challenges they will raise for our society.