The UN has just released a statement about the dramatic population growth that has taken over the Earth. Several news outlets have taken this report by the Population Division of the organization and, unsurprisingly, changed it to fit their specific narratives about how the world is changing. So, world population growth – is it growing or ending?
In an overly dramatic attempt at attention, some have said that population growth is shown to decline and eventually level off at some point in the future. Others, more candid, have taken the number – 11 billion people by 2100 – and presented it as an apocalyptic scenario.
But what of this is true, and what stance should be taken on population growth?
Today’s population sits nicely at 7.3 billion people. Well, to be frank, it isn’t sitting at all, it’s in a rapid ascent. So quick that, according to the UN, by 2050, it will have reached 9.7 billion, and by 2100, a staggering 11.2 billion people. Though fear not, it’s not likely that we will grow as many as to suffocate, though some may see the apocalypse just around the corner.
At the Joint Statistical Meetings that were held in Seattle, Washington, the UN gave the prediction that population growth will probably not end by 2100, as the rate of growth in sub-Saharan Africa is still high, and is expected to rise. Although Africa now has but 1.2 billion people, it’s expected that the number will shockingly rise by the end of the century up to anywhere between 3.4 billion and 5.6 billion.
These estimates are based on the fertility rates around the world. African fertility rates are extremely high as of recent and recently the decline in the rate has shown a slow stall. However, overall, the TFR in Africa has been declining, yet this decline is happening much too slowly (compared to other countries). Africa’s most populous state – Nigeria – is even in the opposite situation. Its fertility rate has stopped its decline. Due to this, the country’s population is expected to be 2.5 times its current size.
However, the numbers to which optimistic news outlets cling seems to be the 23% chance that, according to the UN, by 2100 population growth may slow down and level off. Yet, the pressing matter is that if no worldwide approach to the problem will be taken, change will be slow to come, if it will come at all. So no, the predictions are not as pink as some would see them.
In the pressing problem of population growth, which itself is a big start piece in huge domino of other social issues, different narrative approaches should not be the case. The widely contradictory research that exists on population growth is what pushed the UN into giving this presentation, yet its truth spreading efforts may now seem a bit… naïve.
Image source: ibtimes.com