05 May 2011

World population projections

A most interesting graph, discussed at some length in the New York Times.
The population of the world, long expected to stabilize just above 9 billion in the middle of the century, will instead keep growing and may hit 10.1 billion by the year 2100, the United Nations projected in a report released Tuesday.

Growth in Africa remains so high that the population there could more than triple in this century, rising from today’s one billion to 3.6 billion, the report said — a sobering forecast for a continent already struggling to provide food and water for its people.

The new report comes just ahead of a demographic milestone, with the world population expected to pass 7 billion in late October, only a dozen years after it surpassed 6 billion. Demographers called the new projections a reminder that a problem that helped define global politics in the 20th century, the population explosion, is far from solved in the 21st...

The projections were made by the United Nations population division, which has a track record of fairly accurate forecasts...

One message from the new report is that the AIDS epidemic, devastating as it has been, has not been the demographic disaster that was once predicted...

Some studies suggest that providing easy, affordable access to contraceptives is not always sufficient.... general education for girls plays a critical role, in that literate young women are more likely to understand that family size is a choice.

The new report suggests that China, which has for decades enforced restrictive population policies, could soon enter the ranks of countries with declining populations, peaking at 1.4 billion in the next couple of decades, then falling to 941 million by 2100.

The United States is growing faster than many rich countries, largely because of high immigration and higher fertility among Hispanic immigrants. The new report projects that the United States population will rise from today’s 311 million to 478 million by 2100.


  1. Here's mine, Z:
    If history is any indicator, people are not going to stop making babies...
    In 2010 with just under 7 billion, we had 267 being born and 108 dieing EACH MINUTE (average).
    At 9 billion and zero growth the 'people are not going to stop making babies' rule dictates that the death rate will change to 320 a minute!
    In 2009 the number of malnurished humans broke 1 billion; greater than 10% of all humans.
    Will a disease provide 'correction' or will we finally address that the world isn't big enough? OK, it may be big enough, but the quality of life will keep slipping until 'correction' means the quality of life for most of us is reduced to cogs and/or cattle.

  2. The collapse of the human population will be a horror-producing event orders of magnitude worse than anything in recorded history. Anything that upsets the overpopulation's intricate demand/supply network will trigger it off. This last economic crises could have done it, were it to have gotten out of control.

    Our species is in extreme denial.

    Advice? Develop a taste for human flesh. It's what's fer dinner:)

  3. I'll partially agree with N ->
    'The Hot Zone' is a great book.
    As my wife puts it, 'sooner or later, mother nature is going to notice she is uncomfortable and with one good shiver, shake us off of her back'.

  4. History is NOT an indicator. History assumes ceteris paribus, which is definitively never the case.

    Countries that reach a high level of industrialization will also see decreases in infant mortality, increases in medical care for the elderly, and (rationally) deceases in family size and a leveling of population. Children will be fewer, but of better quality and better life expectancy. Every animal has a natural equilibrium, and humans are no exception.

    The curve of the slope will level (and already is leveling in industrialized nations). Populations will continue to explode where industrialization is inhibited by internal and external political forces; i.e. Africa.

  5. The Malthusian/Ehrlichian population bomb is utterly false; I don't know why people still buy into such nonsense.

  6. That would be catastrophic. Africa and Asia have got to get themselves together.


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