Projection is 800 million more than a previous UN forecast of 10.1 billion
Researchers had expected fertility in Africa to more fall quickly
The world’s population will reach almost eleven billion by the end of the century because of soaring birth rates in Africa, according to new research.
The latest projection is about 800 million – eight percent – more than a previous UN forecast of 10.1 billion issued in 2011.
Researchers had expected fertility on the poorest continent where a woman will give birth to an average of 5.2 children in her lifetime, to fall more quickly than it has.
The current African population is about 1.1 billion and it is now expected to reach 4.2 billion, nearly a fourfold increase, by 2100.
Professor Adrian Raftery, of the University of Washington, said: ‘The fertility decline in Africa has slowed down or stalled to a larger extent than we previously predicted, and as a result the African population will go up.’
A study last year found shifting population trends mean one in three children born by 2050 will be African.
The new estimates are based on better statistical methods developed by Prof Raftery and colleagues using finely tuned data that anticipate the life expectancies.
In other areas of the world, fewer major population changes are expected. Europe may see a small decline because of fertility continuing below replacement level, and other nations around the globe may see modest increases due to longer life expectancies, said Prof Raftery.
But there is no end in sight for the increase of world population, yet the topic has gone off the agenda in favour of other pressing global issues including poverty and climate change.
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