. Earth Science News .

World population to hit 10 bln, but 15 bln possible: UN
by Staff Writers
London (AFP) Oct 26, 2011

The world's population of seven billion is set to rise to at least 10 billion by 2100, but could top 15 billion if birth rates are just slightly higher than expected, the United Nations said on Wednesday.

In a report ahead of ceremonies on October 31 to mark the seven billionth human alive today, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) warned demographic pressure posed mighty challenges for easing poverty and conserving the environment.

"This is a challenge and a call to action. The issue of population is a critical one for all humanity and for planet Earth," Babatunde Osotimehin, the UNFPA's executive director, said at the launch of the report in London.

But he said that the world should focus on how to make the world a better place to live instead of worrying only about numbers.

"This is not a matter of space, it's a matter of equity, opportunity and social justice," he told journalists.

He called for a focus on the rights of women and young people to help keep the global population in check.

"From the Arab Spring to the sit-ins at Wall Street, people are demanding change and young people in particular," he said. "Educating and empowering girls and women allows them to have fewer children than their mothers and grandmothers did."

New estimates see a global human tally of 9.3 billion at 2050, an increase over earlier figures, and more than 10 billion by the end of the century, the UNFPA report said.

But, it added, "with only a small variation in fertility, particularly in the most populous countries, the total could be higher: 10.6 billion people could be living on Earth by 2050 and more than 15 billion in 2100."

The 126-page document, "The State of the World Population 2011", highlights a surge that began with the post-World War II baby boom -- a numbers "bulge" that shows up in following generations as they in turn grow up and have children.

In contrast, prosperity, better education and access to contraception have slashed the global fertility rate to the point that some rich countries have to address a looming population fall.

Over the past six decades, fertility has declined from a statistical average of 6.0 children per women to about 2.5 today, varying from 1.7 in the most advanced economies to 4.2 in the least developed nations.

Even so, 80 million people each year are added to the world's population. People under 25 comprise 43 percent of the total.

The report highlighted these challenges:

- HELPING YOUTH: Having large numbers of young adults offers many poor countries the hope of rising from poverty.

But, warns the UNFPA, "this opportunity of a 'demographic dividend' is a fleeting moment that must be claimed quickly or lost." Finding jobs for this swelling sea of youngsters is essential.

It notably quotes from a report by the UN's International Labour Organisation (ILO) which suggests the 23.4-percent youth unemployment in the Arab world was a major contributor to the uprisings there.

- GREEN WORRIES: The report cites environmental problems that are already pressing and set to intensify as demand grows for food, energy and homes.

Referring to a yardstick of sustainability used by the environmental thinktank Global Footprint Network, the report said it now takes the Earth 18 months to regenerate the natural resources that we use in a year.

"Climate change and rapid population growth are among the many factors contributing to the current drought and famine in the Horn of Africa, which has affected more than 12 million people," it says.

Future concerns focus especially on water stress. "Analysis suggests that the world will face a 40-percent global shortfall (in water) between forecast demand and available supply by 2030," says the report, citing Egypt -- hugely dependent on the Nile -- as a particular example.

- CITY FUTURES: The balance between rural and urban populations "has tipped irreversibly" towards cities in today's world of seven billion. The biggest urban agglomeration, as defined by the UNFPA, is Tokyo, with 36.7 million people, followed by Delhi, with 22 million, Sao Paulo, 20 million and Mumbai, with 20 million.

As the world's population expands, better urban planning, with closer involvement of residents, will be essential. Adequate housing, sanitation and green spaces should be incorporated in the shaping of cities rather than ad-hoc growth that leads to shanty towns.

- IMMIGRATION: In rich countries where populations are becoming top-heavy with the elderly, the task will be to meet growing demands for labour. Immigration, one of the options, needs to be orderly and managed so that migrants are better integrated and protected.

- FAMILY PLANNING: Dozens of countries are lagging in achieving the UN's Millennium Development Goal of providing universal access to reproductive health, said the report.

Related Links
All About Human Beings and How We Got To Be Here

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries

Seven billion humans: World population in figures
London (AFP) Oct 26, 2011 - Following is a snapshot in statistics of the world's population, which will officially reach seven billion on October 31.

SOURCE: The State of World Population 2011, published by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

- Around 2,000 years ago, the world's population was around 300 million. Around 1800, it reached a billion. The second billion was notched up in 1927. The three billion mark was swiftly reached in 1959, rose to four billion in 1974, then accelerated to five billion in 1987, six billion in 1999 and seven billion in 2011.

- By 2050, there will be around 9.3 billion people and more than 10 billion by 2100. But this could be as high as 10.6 billion by 2050 and more than 15 billion in 2100 with only a small rise in fertility in high-population countries.

- Each year around 80 million are added to the world's population, a number roughly equivalent to the population of Germany, Vietnam or Ethiopia. People under 25 comprise 43 percent of the world's population.

- The main reason for the demographic surge of recent decades is the Baby Boom of the 1950s and 60s, which shows up in ensuing "bulges" when this generation reproduces.

- Average life expectancy rose from about 48 years in the early 1950s to about 68 in the first decade of the new millennium. Infant mortality fell by nearly two-thirds.

- Contraception, prosperity and changing cultural attitudes have also brought about a fall in fertility, from a statistical 6.0 children per woman to 2.5 over six decades.

- In more advanced economies, the average fertility rate today is about 1.7 children per woman, below the replacement level of 2.1. In the least developed countries, the rate is 4.2 births, with sub-Saharan African reporting 4.8.

- Asia accounts for 4.2 billion of the world's population. It is projected to reach 5.2 billion in 2052 before declining slowly. The biggest rate of increase is in Africa, whose population first surpassed a billion in 2009 and is expected to add another billion by 2044.

- China is the world's most populous country, with 1.35 billion, followed by India with 1.24 billion. In 2025, India will have 1.46 billion, overtaking China's 1.39 billion. China's population will decline to about 1.3 billion by 2050; India's will peak at 1.7 billion by 2060.

- Under the UN Millennium Goals, access to reproductive health should be universal by 2015. But there are still 46 countries where a fifth or more of women who are married or living in a union still have an unmet need for contraception, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Gender equality and women's empowerment are also keys to lowering birth rates.


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Tracing the first North American hunters
Copenhagen, Denmark (SPX) Oct 25, 2011
A new and astonishing chapter has been added to North American prehistory in regards to the first hunters and their hunt for the now extinct giant mammoth-like creatures - the mastodons. Professor Eske Willerslev's team from the Centre for GeoGenetics, University of Copenhagen, has in collaboration with Michael Waters' team at the Center for the Study of the First Americans, University of ... read more

Nuclear pollution of sea from Fukushima was world's biggest

Looting in Turkey as quake survivors seethe over aid

Teenager saved days after Turkey quake as toll reaches 550

Rice regrets shoe shopping amid Katrina disaster: book

RIM stock suffers on new tablet software stall

Reversing course, Hewlett-Packard to keep PC unit

Video game makers ready barrage of blockbusters

Wearable depth-sensing projection system makes any surface capable of multitouch interaction

Desalination part of solution for China?

US residents say Hawaii's coral reef ecosystems worth $33.57 billion per year

Brazil snub to OAS heightens row over dam

Record fine for VI firm caught trading protected coral

Extreme Melting on Greenland Ice Sheet

China's glaciers in meltdown mode: study

Glaciers in China shrinking with warming

Polar bear habitats expected to shrink dramatically:

Hong Kong foodie festival raises wine hub profile

Food Chemical Regulations Rely Heavily on Industry Self-Policing and Lack Transparency

Pastoralists in drought-stricken Kenya receive insurance payouts for massive livestock losses

Magnetic tongue ready to help produce tastier processed foods

Bangkok exodus as floods advance on city centre

Five die in Italy flooding

Rina weakens as it heads for Cancun

Hurricane Rina weakens, holds course for Cancun

700 protest over war pensions in Mozambique

US troops to advise front-line units on Uganda rebels

France denies Somali bombardment, admits helping Kenya

Sudden drop in Somali arrivals in Kenya: UNHCR

World population to hit 10 bln, but 15 bln possible: UN

Study uncovers physiological nature of disgust in politics

Computer scientist cracks mysterious Copiale Cipher

Tracing the first North American hunters


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement