The annual UN World Population Prospects Report is here and has some unsettling news to break: it turns out that the world population might rise to more than 13 billion people by 2100.
According to the same report, though, the upcoming years are predicted to bring somewhere between 3.4 billion and 5.6 billion more individuals to the continent, all by the end of the century. Considering that the current population on the continent is around 4.4 billion, it would mean that the number would double – a frightening prospect.
The estimates were made public at a Seattle meeting of demographers and statisticians, where John Wilmoth, head of the United Nations Population Division, presented the population projections for the century we currently live in. He emphasized that these are just that – projections – and that things might as well go in another direction.
The United Nations, for example, estimates there is a 23 percent possibility that the world’s population will see a drop, or at least stabilize, by the time we reach the year 2100. Wilmoth’s speech was part of the “Better Demographic Forecasts, Better Policy Decisions” session.
According to models of demographic change, the African continent was named the largest contributor to the surge in the world’s population growth, which was no surprise. At the same time, Wilmoth said that historical experience was one of the greatest factors that influenced the estimations.
But the report didn’t just present the numbers, it also highlighted the effects of such a colossal growth in population. Especially in countries where the fertility rate is really high, the growth has the potential of aggravating the situation on multiple levels, from environment, government and public health, to economic and social.
Other reports have shown that declining fertility rates – one of the plagues that have decimated African countries such as Nigeria – are no longer a pressing issue, as they have stalled for the time being.
What’s also worrying is that most countries will also deal with an ageing population. The U.S. population is expected to reach 450 million by 2100, but the PSR – the potential support ratio – does not look good.
The result of dividing the number of people aged 20 to 64 by the number of people aged 65 or over, the PSR is predicted to drop by more than half. This basically means the nation will have more retirees than workers, if the current trends keep at it. Japan’s PSR is the lowest around the globe, but that might not be the case by the end of the century.
Image Source: The Guardian