Global population is expected to hit 7 billion later this year, up from 6 billion in 1999. Between now and 2050, an estimated 2.3 billion more people will be added—nearly as many as inhabited the planet as recently as 1950. New estimates from the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations also project that the population will reach 10.1 billion in 2100.
sizable increases represent an unprecedented global demographic
upheaval, according to David Bloom, Clarence James Gamble Professor of
Economics and Demography at the Harvard School of Public Health, in a
review article published July 29, 2011 in Science.
the next forty years, nearly all (97%) of the 2.3 billion projected
increase will be in the less developed regions, with nearly half (49%)
in Africa. By contrast, the populations of more developed countries will
remain flat, but will age, with fewer working-age adults to support
retirees living on social pensions.
issues immediately confronting developing countries are different from
those facing the rich countries, in a globalized world demographic
challenges anywhere are demographic challenges everywhere," said Bloom.
world's population has grown slowly for most of human history. It took
until 1800 for the population to hit 1 billion. However, in the past
half-century, population jumped from 3 to 7 million. In 2011,
approximately 135 million people will be born and 57 million will die, a
net increase of 78 million people.
uncertainty about these projections remains, Bloom writes. Depending on
whether the number of births per woman continues to decline, the ranges
for 2050 vary from 8.1 to 10.6 billion, and the 2100 projections vary
from 6.2 to 15.8 billion.
Population trends indicate a
shift in the "demographic center of gravity" from more to less developed
regions, Bloom writes. Already strained, many developing countries will
likely face tremendous difficulties in supplying food, water, housing,
and energy to their growing populations, with repercussions for health,
security, and economic growth.
"The demographic picture
is indeed complex, and poses some formidable challenges," Bloom said.
"Those challenges are not insurmountable, but we cannot deal with them
by sticking our heads in the sand. We have to tackle some tough issues
ranging from the unmet need for contraception among hundreds of millions
of women and the huge knowledge-action gaps we see in the area of child
survival, to the reform of retirement policy and the development of
global immigration policy. It's just plain irresponsible to sit by idly
while humankind experiences full force the perils of demographic
News Source: Physorg
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