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U.N.: World population rate must slow

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
United Nations, N.Y. (UPI) Feb 3, 2011
The growth rate of the world's population must slow considerably or it will reach unsustainable levels, a United Nations report says.

The U.N. Population Division says for a reasonable possibility of stabilizing world population, fertility must drop below a "replacement level" at which a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next, the BBC reported Thursday.

That level is 2.5 children per woman in high mortality countries and 2.1 children per woman in low mortality countries. If that level is achieved it must then be maintained for an extended period, the report says.

The world population, expected to reach 7 billion this year, could double to 14 billion by 2100 if action is not taken, the Population Division says.

The greatest concern is for the least developed countries, which have the fastest growth rates and are already the most vulnerable to famine, the report says.

"Even with significant fertility reductions, Africa's population will likely increase by 150 percent by 2100 and many of its countries will see their populations increase four-fold or more," the report says.

"Even countries with intermediate fertility need to reduce it to replacement level or below if they wish to avoid reaching unsustainable population levels," U.N. Population Division Director Hania Zlotnik says.

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