World population growth racing ahead, UN reports  

Posted by Big Gav in

The SMH reports that population modellers are revising their long terms forecasts upwards, with renewed growth in Africa and the US dashing hopes of global population levelling off below 10 billion - World population growth racing ahead, UN reports.

HE world's population, long expected to stabilise just above 9 billion in the middle of the century, will instead keep growing and may even hit 10.1 billion by 2100, a United Nations report said.

Growth in Africa remains so high that the population there could more than triple in this century, from 1 billion at present to 3.6 billion, the report said - a sobering forecast for a continent already struggling to provide food and water for its people.

The report, released on Tuesday, comes just months ahead of a demographic milestone - the world population is expected to exceed 7 billion in late October, only a dozen years after it surpassed 6 billion.

Demographers labelled the new projections as a reminder that a problem that helped define global politics in the 20th century was still far from solved.

''Every billion more people makes life more difficult for everybody - it's as simple as that,'' said John Bongaarts, a demographer at the Population Council, a research group in New York. ''Is it the end of the world? No. Can we feed 10 billion people? Probably. But we obviously would be better off with a smaller population.''

The projections were made by the UN population division, which has a track record of fairly accurate forecasts. In the new report, the division raised its forecast for 2050, arriving at a figure of 9.3 billion, an increase of 156 million over the previous estimate for that year, published in 2008.

Among factors behind the reisions is that fertility is not declining as rapidly as expected in some poor countries and has shown a slight increase in some wealthier countries. The US is growing faster than many rich countries, largely due to high immigration and higher fertility among Hispanic immigrants.

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