The promise is a virus of some sort (TBD) takes out all the children and a percentage of adults in a fairly short amount of time (hours to days). Hand Waved (for now) as an immune system thing (children's are less developed, and some adults would be susceptible). The percentage of adults would be weighted a bit more towards western countries, but global nonetheless.

According to my research, that would be roughly 2.5 billion people (1.9 billion children on earth and 0.6 billion adults to get up to ~35%). Obviously anything based around childcare would fall apart, teaching would cease to be a career for 5-15 years. But how much else would fail? Would our society of specialists fall apart? Would it be safe to assume that everything would regress back to the level it was when we were last at 4.5 billion people on earth (early 70s)?

What would the effects be 1 year out? 5 years out? 10 years out? And how long would it take to recover back to today's type of society (not necessarily population level, but the same capabilities)?

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    $\begingroup$ Questions asking "How would X affect society?" are often closed as too broad. $\endgroup$ – sphennings Nov 14 '17 at 23:36
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    $\begingroup$ The fundamental problem here is what will happen when the surviving adults become old. You see, demographics works with long delays. Let's suppose that "children" means people less than 12 years old. About six years after the event, the number of new entrants into the labor market will drop to zero and stay zero for 12 years. The number of active people available to support old people will begin to decrease, and will continue to decrease for 12 more years, when it will reach a minimum. How bad this will be depends on the society; pensions will have to be cut, for example. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Nov 14 '17 at 23:51
  • $\begingroup$ What happens after the first outbreak? Will newborn children keep dying? $\endgroup$ – Alexander Nov 14 '17 at 23:53
  • $\begingroup$ Countries where almost half the population are children might see >60% of their population die off instantly and many older people in those countries will die off after without care by their children. There will be terrible economic problems as most developing nations will not be able to sustain their economies without their young workers. Technology won't disappear but many governments will collapse globally. $\endgroup$ – A. C. A. C. Nov 14 '17 at 23:55
  • $\begingroup$ I don't see us regressing to 8-track tapes for music and PONG for video games, nor giving up catalytic converters, phones, and MRI machines. Disco might come back, though.... $\endgroup$ – user535733 Nov 15 '17 at 1:13

Teaching would still be a career, adult education.

Human civilization advances primarily because of stored knowledge (written and now electronic). A computer virus could be more of an impediment than a biological virus!

The elderly have weak immune systems, and this will impact the answer too.

But you are asking for what could be affected in your scenario. Map it out - In 5 years there will again be small children. Childcare will be back online. In 10 years, teaching is again online. In 15 years, the adults are now elderly, and there is a wave of missing young adults. So at that point teaching and childcare are back, but the work force overall is insufficient for a society of children and old people. In my mind that is the interesting point in the series.

In a generation or two you are back to normal.


The knock on effects will be huge if, as you say, all the children die.

There will be mass suicides of adults, mostly parents and other primary caregivers. There will be a very sharp decline in the number of conceptions for generations afterwards. Even if the apoc-event could be proven to the population to be a one-off event, psychologically people will be very reluctant to risk having kids and risk all that heartache again. Unless you've been a parent you can never understand what how it feels to lose a child. I think you could probably add on about another billion adult deaths in the months following the event.

Recovery for the human race in this case becomes more a matter of psychological resilience than anything else.


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