Meeting the SDGs Will Lead to Smaller Global Population Growth

September 15, 2016 • Daily Email Recap

Meeting the Sustainable Development Goals leads to lower world population growth

Here we show to what extent expected world population growth will be lower as a consequence of implementing the recently agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs include specific quantitative targets on mortality, reproductive health and education for all girls by 2030, which will directly and indirectly affect future demographic trends. Based on a multi-dimensional model of population dynamics that stratifies national populations by age, sex and level of education with educational fertility and mortality differentials, we translate these goals into SDG population scenarios resulting in population sizes between 8 and 9 billion in 2100. Since these results lie outside the 95 percent uncertainty range given by the 2015 UN probabilistic population projections we complement the study through sensitivity analyses of these projections that suggest that those uncertainty intervals are too narrow because of uncertainty in baseline data, conservative assumptions on correlations, and the possibility of new policies influencing these trends. This analysis quantitatively illustrates the view that demography is not destiny and policies, particularly in female education and reproductive health, can greatly contribute to reducing world population growth.

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