Demographers at the National Institute for Demographic Studies (INED) predict the world population will surpass 7 billion people this year, with increased birth rates in Africa offsetting birth rate drops elsewhere. According to a recent study released by the INED, population growth worldwide will steadily increase until the total stabilizes between 9 billion and 10 billion by the end of the century.
“INED expects it to take a further 14 years to reach eight billion people before the figures start stabilising, according to the study which pulls together research carried out by the United Nations, the World Bank and several major national institutes,” read an Agence France-Presse article. “Just seven countries now account for half the world’s population, and therefore their demographic shifts have a major effect. China tops the list with over 1.33 billion people, with another 1.17 billion in India.”
In an analysis of population growth for Science, discussed by an NPR article, Demographer David Bloom of the Harvard School of Public Health agrees that the majority of the world’s population growth will come from developing countries in the coming decades, and that can have a negative impact on the rest of the world.
“Developing countries tend to be the most politically, economically, socially and environmentally fragile countries in the world,” Bloom said. “And the fallout of rapid population growth in those countries can spill over in many negative ways to other countries.”
According to the article, the Science editors “warn of ‘cluster bombs’ of demographic disaster in rapidly growing countries such as Nigeria and Pakistan that are already ‘hobbled by poor governance and… have huge numbers of poorly educated young adults without job prospects.’”
According to the article, this can be avoided, though: “But with wider access to contraception and concerted attention on infant and child health — basic vaccinations and primary health care — parents in developing countries will opt to have fewer children, who will have a better shot at a tolerable or even prosperous life.”