The end of world population growth

The end of world population growth

Population numbers are predicted to fall, but the number of elderly will still increase

Paper suggests that whilst there has been enormous concern about the consequences of human population growth for the environment and for social and economic development, this growth is likely to come to an end in the foreseeable future.Authors challenge the United Nations predictions, implying that previous forecasts on increasing population numbers have been incorrect.

But a stabilized or shrinking population will be a much older population. At the global level the proportion above age 60 is likely to increase from its current level of 10 per cent to around 22 per cent in 2050.

Authors suggest that there studies have improved on earlier methods of probabilistic forecasting to show that

  • there is around an 85 per cent chance that the world's population will stop growing before the end of the century
  • there is a 60 per cent probability that the world's population will not exceed 10 billion people before 2100
  • and there is around a 15 per cent probability that the world's population at the end of the century will be lower than it is today
For different regions, the date and size of the peak population will vary considerably.Population numbers are only one aspect of human impact, and in some of the world's most vulnerable regions, significant population growth is still to be expected. Nevertheless, the prospect of an end to world population growth is welcome news for efforts towards sustainable development, although it should not be considered as an end of population concerns [adapted from authors]