Development: Slow down population growth

February 25, 2016 • Daily Email Recap

Development: Slow down population growth

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In 2100, our planet is expected to be home to 11.2 billion people. That’s a more than 50% increase on today’s 7.3 billion1. This expansion of humanity is likely to be spread unevenly across the world. In the most developed regions, we expect declines (such as in Europe and east Asia) or little further growth (as in the Americas; see ‘Bulges, gaps and shifts’). Substantial further growth is anticipated in the least developed regions of south and west Asia (including in India and Pakistan) and north Africa (for example, in Egypt). By far the largest increase is projected in sub-Saharan Africa with a quadrupling of population – from just shy of 1 billion currently to 3.9 billion.
This potential addition of 4 billion people to the poorest regions of the globe is an obstacle to development that makes it difficult to be optimistic about their futures. Rapid population growth, with attendant consumption and waste, has pervasive adverse effects on societies and the world’s ecosystems (see ‘Four ways population rise takes its toll’). Many countries would be better off with lower population growth and birth rates. This is exemplified by the east Asian ‘tiger’ economies, including South Korea and Taiwan, that in recent decades have seen rapid increases in per capita incomes as birth rates declined. The boost to economic growth that follows a decline in fertility is referred to as the ‘demographic dividend’2.

Current World Population


Net Growth During Your Visit