17 Feb 2014

The term peak child came into common parlance after its adoption by the Gates Foundation, a charitable organisation set up by Bill and Melinda Gates. In his annual letter in 2014 Bill Gates attempted to ‘explode’ the myth that poor countries were not getting any richer. The letter drew on the work of an organisation called Gapminder which gathers statistical information and presents it in a digestible fashion. A key feature of the arguments put forward in the letter was the work of Hans Rosling, professor of international health at the Karolinska Institute, who argues that, due to improved health care and child life expectancy, birth rates are falling. He says that contrary to popular belief, women start choosing to have fewer children once education and health improves to the extent that the women believe their children are likely to survive into adulthood. Because of falling birth rates there will never be more children in the world than there are today – we are at peak child. However, the world’s population will continue to rise due to the demographic lag.

YouTube video: Hans Rosling: will saving poor children lead to overpopulation?

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