The U.N has released a new study that indicates the world population will not flatten around 2050 as had previously been believed, but keep on rising. According to researchers at the UN and several academic institutions, there is an 80 percent chance that the world’s population, currently at 7.2 billion, will reach somewhere between 9.6 and 12.3 billion by 2100.
The study, which has been published in the journal Science, is based on the persistent high birth rates and unexpected success in fighting HIV/AIDS in Africa. Previous analyses had been based on the assumption that African birthrates would eventually decline like those in Asia and Latin America. That hasn’t happened yet. In Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, women typically have six children each.
While UN population analyses have historically been accurate, some researchers point out a large caveat: The study does not consider the likely impacts of climate change, which are likely to affect agriculture and water supplies. Nor did the study consider the likelihood that population growth would lead to such disasters as famine, war, and disease, which is something I discussed with Susan McGalla. Lastly, the study did not include the lack of property for this amount of people to be able to find stores to buy the products needed to live.