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The Global Population in 2100

Global Population in 2100

Solving many of the world’s biggest environmental challenges may have just gotten more difficult.

In June the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat released revised global population data. The midline estimate — more than 10.8 billion by 2100 — is 800 million higher than the 2010 prediction.

A combination of factors is driving the number higher, including upward trending fertility rates in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia and an increase in life expectancy at birth across much of the world.

A deeper dive into the data yields a number of surprising discoveries. India’s population is expected to pass that of China’s around 2028, making it the most populous country in the world. Nigeria is predicted to pass the U.S. in population by 2050 and may rival China for the second most populous country in the world by century’s end. And by 2100 the list of countries with populations exceeding 200 million could grow to include Indonesia, the United Republic of Tanzania, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Uganda and Niger.

Today’s rural-to-urban migration will continue in full force, with upwards of 84 percent of the planet living in cities at the close of the century (compared to 52 percent today).

While 10.8 billion is the midpoint projection for the global population by 2100, the report notes that the actual number could be as low as 6.8 billion or as high as 16.6 billion.

Of course population isn’t the only factor contributing to humans’ planetary impact. Consumption may be equally important when looking at the drivers of environmental change across the Earth. Nevertheless, population will continue to be a major consideration as we work to address issues ranging from energy and food security to water availability, species loss, pollution, urban planning and more in the decades ahead.

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  • Dave Gardner Aug. 22nd, 2013
    It's good to see population growth and its impact on our planet get some media attention. We should take note that the UN population scenarios are not a given.

    If today's fertility rates were to remain unchanged, world population would soar way past even the UN's high scenario. Better news is we could actually avoid even reaching the middle scenario's 10.8 billion, which we all-too-often assume is a fait accompli. All we have to do is end the taboo on discussing overpopulation and get serious about spreading the word that choosing to have a small family is the only responsible, loving choice on a full planet (while continuing to fight for gender equity and access to contraception).

    Dave Gardner
    Director of the documentary
    GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth
  • Dave Hymers Nov. 18th, 2013
    Several things are likely to mitigate a population of 10.8bn by 2100 the largest is likely climate change which past 2050 will worsen famin and increase instances of death from extreme weather in addition to refugees.

    Another factor is energy decine & water supply access which by 2050 will be pronounced and producing/worsening inter-state conflicts globally, more extreme than the instances witnessed in Egypt & Syria.

    It doesnt seem to me like an awakening will occur that both of these factors can be dealt with ahead of time by reduced energy use and reaching replacement or below replacement by choice, we're likely to sleepwalk into and exacerbate these factors which will curb our population growth perhaps to around 8-9bn

    This is the ultimate catch 22. Sacrifice (plan) now or sacrifice later.
  • Roger Fairley Dec. 25th, 2013
    I don't understand the big deal, because you overpopulation doomers know what could be done but you rather see the world shrink because you refuse to talk to the big corporations that are polluting and developed nations are being down right wasteful and greed.

    Here is how Africa could manage its future population.

    Green efficient infrastructure
    Village & City Farm fishing
    Restoration of the Desert (Look up Great Green Wall of Africa)
    Large learning centers (colleges/trade school)
    Chicken Farms
    Organized City Planning

    So stop being Cowards & go after the nasty corporations that pollute the Earth. I truly believe Africa could be a role model for the world if its done right!

    All this silly overpopulation crap can be answered by simply giving the children an opportunity to get an education (Literacy)
    & not just sex education!
  • William Vassiliou Dec. 26th, 2013
    Can't believe people are still falling for the rubbish from the UN that the world is or will become overpopulated. Bet all of you deceived people didn't know that the current world population would fit inside Jacksonville Florida "TWICE". The world is not over crowded, cities are. The other myth nobody must believe is that there is not enough food to feed our current world population, again that is rubbish. Not only are there enough resources to feed our current world, but there is enough to feed 10 x more than the current world population for the next 1,000 years and beyond. Poverty/famine is created by nothing but greed from the elite governments of this world who want population control simply in order to promote their own agendas. Wake up people before they kill us off like flies before our very eyes so that the elite of this world can have the planet to themselves. Overpopulation, famine and climate change, "RUBBISH", it doesn't exist!
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  • Smar Ter-than Ensia Sep. 6th, 2017
    I would like you to know that there is enough food for the world it is just not evenly distributed
  • Steven B Kurtz Jan. 28th, 2022
    Thank you for addressing population. I just became aware of your org. and commend you for not burying this issue. I've been at it for over three decades. (pro bono)
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