High impact: Report to Joe Biden cites IFFS research

Research on population change, ageing and the economy, by Dean Spears, researcher in the project “Sustainable population in the time of climate change” at IFFS, is cited in "The Economic Report of the President (ERP)".

The ERP is an annual report produced by the Council of Economic Advisers to the US President, presenting domestic and international economic policies in the US.

- Population change is one of the most important trends for leaders and policy makers thinking about the future. I’m delighted that the White House has recognized this and has incorporated such a thoughtful and detailed chapter into the President’s annual overview of the economy, says Dean Spears.

Dean Spears is an economist and demographer at University of Austin, Texas, and his research concerns global fertility trends. One such trend is decreasing global fertility, with many countries now below replacement level, meaning the population will starts to shrink. "Two-thirds of the global population is estimated to now live in a country with below-replacement fertility (Spears 2023), and the world population is projected to begin shrinking this century (Spears et al. 2023; U.N. DESA 2022a)", writes the Council of Economic Advisers, in the report, citing Dean Spears op-ed article in the New York Times, September 2023 (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2023/09/18/opinion/human-population-global-growth.html).

The report highlights that the United States is experiencing an unprecedented slowdown in population growth due to declining birth rates and that an aging population poses challenges for social safety net programs. The report explores the effect of demographic trends on the US economy, the labor market, AI, housing, and climate change.

In the final report of the research project “Sustainable population in the time of climate change”, Deans Spears and Gustaf Arrhenius, delves into the connections between climate change and population change. They write:

"[...] [D]epopulation is not merely an environmentalist proposal, depopulation is humanity’s likely future. But should depopulation be welcomed, or even intentionally accelerated, to reduce carbon emissions? The fundamental problem with this proposal is that the pressure of humanity on the environment is a stock but birth rates are a flow. Even large changes in demographic rates will not cause the size of the human population to deviate much from its most likely trend, over the coming few decades. Depopulation will happen at the pace of generations, and over the coming decades, the expected variation in the size of the human population is small."

Find this chapter, and the full report, here: https://www.iffs.se/publikationer/ovrigt/sustainable-population-in-the-time-of-climate-change/