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

Oct 26, 2011
New UN estimates see a global human tally of 9.3 billion at 2050, an increase over earlier figures, and more than 10 billion by century's end. But "with only a small variation in fertility, particularly in the most populous countries, the total could be higher, the UN said.

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 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 ," he told journalists.

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

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.

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 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 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.

Graphic showing mortality and birth rates as the world's population reaches 7 billion.

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.

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emsquared
2 / 5 (4) Oct 26, 2011
But, it added, "with only a small variation in fertility, particularly in the most populous countries, the total could be higher - or lower:

There, fixed that for you.
Vendicar_Decarian
4 / 5 (4) Oct 26, 2011
I remember Libertarians demanding in the 80's that global population would never exceed 7 billion, and hence money spent on population control was pure socialist theft.

I don't see any apparent leveling off in the graphic presented. But I do note that the rate of population increase is steadily increasing.

Jeddy_Mctedder
1.3 / 5 (4) Oct 26, 2011
foolish predictions based on false assumptions. this is precisely the same crappy pattern of foolish forecasting based on false assumptions that led to so many people 'jumping on the bandwagon' of predicting the stock market would go to infinity while it was in a huge bubble that burst and proved so many people to be fools.

what's the big assumption? farming, food, and distribution all continuing and growing to make increased food consumption possible to support population growth.

that is foolish. the next serious war , or set of small wars, will clearly disrupt the global trade chain , distribution and production will crash and there will be famine. both world war i and world war ii killed and prevented the births of far fewer numbers of people than the famines the were caused by the wars.

china packistan india, have ALL suffered massive famines in the last 100 years, they are now at record high levels of growth of their economic production and trade and consumption patterns!
kaasinees
1 / 5 (5) Oct 26, 2011
lies, damned lies and statistics.
ShotmanMaslo
1 / 5 (3) Oct 27, 2011
I don't see any apparent leveling off in the graphic presented. But I do note that the rate of population increase is steadily increasing.


It is actually decreasing:

http://en.wikiped...wth_rate

All this increase is fueled by cheap oil. If peak oil coincidences with peak population, the whole production and distribution chain will be hugely affected. The results could be disastrous for overpopulated third world, with billions dead, until the population returns to sustainable levels again.
joefarah
1 / 5 (3) Oct 27, 2011
I'm certainly glad to hear this. The increase in population will be good for the global economy and will start to show us all how much more the population can expand (easily to 100B) without "over-population" issues.

If every family of 4 of the 10B were given a plot of land that is 100'x40' (typical house plot in N/A), or 8,000 people per square Km, (20,000 per sq. mile), we would require .5M sq miles, or an area 500 mi wide by 1000 mi long to house everyone. Add 50% for infrastructure and that would require 1000mi x 1000mi for 10 Billion people.

The earth has a land surface area of 14000 mi x14000 mi, or about 200 times what we need for 10 B. Now only 30% of that is farm land quality, so let's say that at 500 Billion people, we'll have to start using the other 70% (mountains, desert, no top soil, snow covered land). The latter two make up another 30%, and with all the Global Warming threats, that should be ideal land too. So at 1 trillion, we may need some apartment buildings.
Nerdyguy
2.3 / 5 (6) Oct 27, 2011
joefarah:

You are delusional if you believe that every human being would be happy packed into the smallest possible area in the ever popular sardine fashion.

This is not an issue to be solved by a mathematical operation. There are real, detrimental effects from overpopulation, not the least of which is the starvation that occurs in areas that are less fortunate when it comes to useable land and reasonable government practices (e.g., much of Africa.

Educate yourself first, post second.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.9 / 5 (14) Oct 29, 2011
But, it added, "with only a small variation in fertility, particularly in the most populous countries, the total could be higher - or lower:

There, fixed that for you.
Now let's see you do it for real.

10B, 15B, whatever, I'm sure god will feed, clothe, and house every one of us if we all pray real hard. But to which god? We all have to pray to the same god, and exactly the same fashion, in order for it to work.

Do you know how IMPORTANT this is?? The fate of the entire world rests on selecting the one religion that knows how to please the right god in the right manner, for us to survive.

Goddammit, what do we DO?? Pray for direction? BUT TO WHOM, AND HOW??

I think we're in a shitload of trouble. Perhaps in the meantime, until we get this all figured out, we ought to have widespread contraception and abortion. Just to be safe.

Any of you godlovers have any idea of how to figure this out? Of course you don't.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.9 / 5 (14) Oct 29, 2011
If every family of 4 of the 10B were given a plot of land that is 100'x40' (typical house plot in N/A), or 8,000 people per square Km, (20,000 per sq. mile), we would require .5M sq miles, or an area 500 mi wide by 1000 mi long to house everyone. Add 50% for infrastructure and that would require 1000mi x 1000mi for 10 Billion people.
A plot of land and an AK. An AK and 1000 rds of ammo, don't forget that. And some RPGs to breach apartment bldgs, they'll need those. And lots of almonds like the guys in Mumbai had, because they're easy to carry.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.9 / 5 (14) Oct 29, 2011
Just remember the Taliban motto 'Guns will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no guns.' And those guys seem to know.
ShotmanMaslo
1 / 5 (2) Oct 30, 2011
joefarah - thats only surface area. Now count in resources required to support 100 bn of people, with western quality of life (you dont want them to be poor, do you?). How many Earths is it?
emsquared
2.3 / 5 (3) Oct 31, 2011
Now let's see you do it for real.
...

Ghost, my only point was that they said "with only a small variation", it could be higher. But variation implies a negative uncertainty as well as positive. So the fact is reality could be higher - or lower. That's all I was saying.

I agree it's a massive problem. However I also believe nature and economics both have inescapable ways of balancing these things out. How can cultures that are fundamentally opposed to the fix (education & contraception), ever be helped?

The sad fact is, the future holds more human suffering than has ever been known before, and sadly, those who can afford to put themselves above the natural mechanisms will, and those who can't will go to war with each other and die, from famine and war. Those nations who have sustainable growths rates will have to look the other way as millions suffer and die, and they continue to thrive, or they can go bankrupt trying to help the unhelpable and destroy their own nation too.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.9 / 5 (14) Oct 31, 2011
However I also believe nature and economics both have inescapable ways of balancing these things out.
History has shown us that the most prevalent fixes have been war, famine, and plague. In varying degrees. Only the west has found a more humane solution through family planning and abortion. This too is temporary. We must be reengineered.
How can cultures that are fundamentally opposed to the fix (education & contraception), ever be helped?
Some are a little more pliable than others. But most will not yield and must be destroyed, or they will inevitably pose a threat because they are designed to do just that. History has also shown us this.

The ones which were not as efficient at outgrowing their neighbors no longer exist.

The west has finally reached a stage where this miserable cycle can be ended. It has figured out how to thrive with restricted growth. But as these sick cultures will chew up the planet if left to their own ends, they indeed must END.
ShotmanMaslo
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 01, 2011
However I also believe nature and economics both have inescapable ways of balancing these things out.


You DONT want nature balancing these things out.
emsquared
1 / 5 (2) Nov 01, 2011
You DONT want nature balancing these things out.

I don't, you are correct.

However, it doesn't matter what you, I or anyone in "the West" wants. It is up to those cultures, those populations, 100%. We can't make them change their culture, we can't go in and just start wiping them off the face of the earth. We can only sit and watch them suffer and war with each other, or waste our resources trying to fight an un-winnable fight.

This is/will be reality.
ShotmanMaslo
1 / 5 (2) Nov 01, 2011
However, it doesn't matter what you, I or anyone in "the West" wants. It is up to those cultures, those populations, 100%. We can't make them change their culture, we can't go in and just start wiping them off the face of the earth.


Well, I believe we could and we should (not wipe them out, but try to lower birthrates by any means necessary). It is our ethical duty, IMHO.

But you are probably correct, the reality will be different.