19 Sep 2014:
Global Population on Track to
Reach 11 Billion by 2100, Researchers Say
Global population trend
A new analysis of United Nations global population data finds an 80-percent probability that the number of people in the world, now 7.2 billion, will increase to between 9.6 and 12.3 billion in 2100. Published in the journal Science
, the study counters the widely accepted projection that global population will peak at roughly 9 billion by 2050, then gradually decline. The new study instead finds a 70-percent likelihood that population will grow continuously throughout the century to reach 10.9 billion by 2100. Previous projections lacked rigorous statistical analysis, the researchers say, with calculations ranging from 7 billion to 16 billion people by 2100, and were often ignored in policy discussions. Researchers attribute the higher projections, in part, to increasing fertility rates in sub-Saharan Africa, where population growth had been predicted to continue slowing. The Guardian
notes that many widely cited global policy assessments, such as recommendations from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, assume a population peak by 2050.
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