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Global Population Growth

2. The Global Decline in Fertility

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In this module, we think about the causes and consequences of the global decline in fertility. We focus on: (i) the global distribution of fertility patterns, which show that in many countries fertility is below replacement level and that even where it remains relatively high, such as in Sub-Saharan Africa, it is rapidly declining; (ii) the causes of this global decline, notably the spread of women’s rights and the changing economic role of children; (iii) the long-term consequences this will have for population growth, in which Professor Goldin argues that the population with stabilise at below 10 billion then begin to contract.


In this course, Professor Ian Goldin (University of Oxford) considers the causes, consequences and future of global population growth, centring on a single key question – is the planet full? In the first module, we explore global population growth throughout history and whether this will continue into the future, arguing that declining fertility rates suggest not. The second module looks at this decline, its global nature, its causes and its consequences for future demographic patterns. In the third module, we think about two issues associated with demographic change – consumption and its environmental impacts, and population ageing. In the final module, we consider the future of population growth in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and conclude by addressing the question of whether the planet is full.


Professor Ian Goldin is Professor of Globalisation and Development and founder of the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford. He has a wide-ranging expertise in the field of development, and has held high-level positions at numerous international development agencies such as the OECD and World Bank in addition to his academic work. His publications include Rescue: From Global Crisis to a Better World (2021), Development: A Very Short Introduction (2018), The Pursuit of Development: Economic Growth, Social Change and Ideas (2016), and Is the Planet Full? (2014, editor).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Goldin, I. (2021, December 10). Global Population Growth - The Global Decline in Fertility [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Goldin, I. "Global Population Growth – The Global Decline in Fertility." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 10 Dec 2021,

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