Fertility in Africa could push world population over 11 billion

Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com
June 13, 2013



The global population could grow by another 4 billion people by the end of the century if fertility rates in Africa don't decline, according to a new report by the United Nations. Currently around 1.1 billion people live on the continent, but that number could skyrocket to 4.2 billion (a 380 percent increase) by 2100, causing global population to hit 11 billion.

"The fertility decline in Africa has slowed down or stalled to a larger extent than we previously predicted, and as a result the African population will go up," said report co-author Adrian Raftery with the University of Washington Center for Statistics and the Social Sciences.

In 2011, the UN projected that around 10.1 billion people would live on Earth by the end of the century, but undaunted reproductive rates in Africa has now made that estimate look too small. The authors employed new data on Africa's demographics and better fertility forecasting modeling to reach the new estimate.

Global population has grown exponentially over the last century, jumping from just 2 billion in the 1920s to 7 billion today. In addition, while it took over a century to go from 1 billion to 2 billion, it took only a dozen years to go from 6 to 7 billion. Overpopulation is impacting everything from global climate change to economics and resource scarcity to current biodiversity crisis.

The new analysis projects that Nigeria will see the greatest population increase this century, increasing by nearly 500 percent by 2100. India will be second and the U.S. eighth. On the other end of the list, China will see the largest population decreases, falling by about 20 percent. Population declines are also expected in some European countries.

"These new findings show that we need to renew policies, such as increasing access to family planning and expanding education for girls, to address rapid population growth in Africa," Raftery says.

Experts have long noted that the best way to slow population growth is equal rights and better education for women in addition to family planning and access to contraception.

"Right now, 222 million women in the developing world lack access to modern contraception. This has far-reaching consequences for their health, and their opportunities to get an education, earn an income, take care of their families, and determine their own futures," said Suzanne Ehler, president of Population Action International, in a statement. "The fact that any woman does not have the tools to decide the size of her family is absurd. That 222 million women do not is a tragedy, and a huge opportunity for all of us to do more.”



The expected population changes from now to 2100 are shown in the graphic. Population changes in millions. Map by: UW Center for Statistics and the Social Sciences.
The expected population changes from now to 2100 are shown in the graphic. Population changes in millions. Map by: UW Center for Statistics and the Social Sciences.













Related articles

Over 500 scientists warn we 'are causing alarming levels of harm to our planet'

(05/27/2013) A new consensus statement by 520 scientists from around the world warns that global environmental harm is putting at risk the happiness and well-being of this and future generations.


Scientists: stop treating population growth as a 'given' and empower women

(02/27/2013) Climate change, biodiversity loss, resource depletion, water scarcity, and land issues: almost all of the world's environmental problems are underpinned by too many people inhabiting a finite planet. A new study in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B warns that overpopulation—combined with over-consumption—is threatening to push the entire globe into "a collapse of global civilization." But cultural changes, especially more empowerment of women and access to contraceptives, may hold the key to reducing population growth and eventual sustainability.


Paradigm shift needed to avert global environmental collapse, according to author of new book The Blueprint: Averting Global Collapse

(01/10/2013) Global strategist, trained educator, and international lecturer Daniel Rirdan set out to create a plan addressing the future of our planet. His book The Blueprint: Averting Global Collapse, published this year, does just that. "It has been a sixty hour a week routine," Rirdan told mongabay.com in a recent interview. "Basically, I would wake up with the burden of the world on my shoulders and go to sleep with it. It went on like this for eighteen months." It becomes apparent when reading The Blueprint that it was indeed a monumental undertaking.


One in eight people suffer from malnutrition worldwide

(10/16/2012) In a world where technology has advanced to a point where I can instantly have a face-to-face conversation via online video with a friend in Tokyo, nearly 870 million people, or one in eight, still suffer from malnutrition, according to a new UN report. While worldwide hunger declined from 1990 to 2007, progress was slowed by the global economic crisis. Over the last few years, numerous and record-breaking extreme weather events have also taken tolls on food production. Currently, food prices hover just below crisis levels.


Scientists: if we don't act now we're screwed

(06/07/2012) Scientists warn that the Earth may be reaching a planetary tipping point due to a unsustainable human pressures, while the UN releases a new report that finds global society has made significant progress on only four environmental issues out of ninety in the last twenty years. Climate change, overpopulation, overconsumption, and ecosystem destruction could lead to a tipping point that causes planetary collapse, according to a new paper in Nature by 22 scientists. The collapse may lead to a new planetary state that scientists say will be far harsher for human well-being, let alone survival.







CITATION:
Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com (June 13, 2013).

Fertility in Africa could push world population over 11 billion .

http://news.mongabay.com/2013/0613-hance-population-boom.html