Population growth predictions are far more grim than previously thought

Researchers at the University of Washington and the United Nations have used modern statistical tools to estimate what the world population will look like by the end of the 21st century, and it’s a hell of a lot more than was previously expected. According to these new calculations, population growth is expected to continue throughout the century and will reach s whopping 11 billion people by the year 2100.

“The consensus over the past 20 years or so was that world population, which is currently around 7 billion, would go up to 9 billion and level off or probably decline,” said corresponding author Adrian Raftery, a UW professor of statistics and of sociology. “We found there’s a 70 percent probability the world population will not stabilize this century. Population, which had sort of fallen off the world’s agenda, remains a very important issue.”

“Population policy has been abandoned in recent decades. It is barely mentioned in discussions on sustainability or development such as the UN-led sustainable development goals,” said Simon Ross, chief executive of Population Matters, a thinktank supported by naturalist Sir David Attenborough and scientist James Lovelock. “The significance of the new work is that it provides greater certainty. Specifically, it is highly likely that, given current policies, the world population will be between 40-75% larger than today in the lifetime of many of today’s children and will still be growing at that point,” Ross said.

Read more about the story at National Geographic.

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Researchers at the University of Washington and the United Nations have used modern statistical tools to estimate what the world population will look like by the end of the 21st century, and it’s a hell of a lot more than was previously expected. According to these new calculations, population...