Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

World Population to Hit 12 Billion in 2100, New Study Predicts

Climate
World Population to Hit 12 Billion in 2100, New Study Predicts

Researchers had been predicting a leveling off of the world's population, currently more than seven million. But Science, the journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, published a paper today projecting that population will continue to grow in this century and could reach 12 billion by 2100. The paper gave an 80 percent chance that world population in 2100 will be between 9.6 billion and 12.3 billion.

A more heavily populated Earth means bad things for the climate.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

Such population growth would have strong negative impacts on the environment and hasten climate change, due to the demand for food, water, energy, and space, as cities swallowed up open land, deserts expanded, and once-fertile land was overfarmed. It would also increase political unrest as people competed for scarce resources.

“The unsustainable growth of the human population is a key driver of many of the world’s environmental problems, including global warming and the loss of wildlife around the globe,” said Stephanie Feldstein, director of the Center for Biological Diversity's population and sustainability program in response to the report. “Add in our voracious appetites for land, water, meat and energy, and these newest predictions make it clear it’s time for a global conversation about population growth and consumption.”

Much of that growth has occurred in Africa, where future growth is predicted as well, as HIV mortality goes down and access to contraception is limited. The population there could grow from one billion to four billion. But the paper's authors suggest that population could be controlled by contraception and educating women.

The study, led by Patrick Gerland of the United Nations Population Division in New York, included both new data and new ways of looking at existing data on fertility, life expectancy and international migration.

But, while researchers believe this gave them more accurate projections than in the past, they warn not to treat these projections as inevitable.

“We’re still talking about much slower population growth than we just came through,” said University of Michigan population researcher David Lam. “The world population doubled between 1960 and 1999, and we’re never going to do that again. The population is leveling off and it’s going to eventually level off under any of these scenarios, whether that’s before 2100 or after."

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Can the World Feed China?

Earth’s Annual Resource Allotment Runs Out Today

4 Reasons Why We Need to Rethink Industrial Meat Production

54% of parents with school-age children expressed concern that their children could fall behind academically, according to a poll conducted over the summer of 2020. Maria Symchych-Navrotska / Getty Images

By Pamela Davis-Kean

With in-person instruction becoming the exception rather than the norm, 54% of parents with school-age children expressed concern that their children could fall behind academically, according to a poll conducted over the summer of 2020. Initial projections from the Northwest Evaluation Association, which conducts research and creates commonly used standardized tests, suggest that these fears are well-grounded, especially for children from low-income families.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A teenager reads a school English assignment at home after her school shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic on March 22, 2020 in Brooklyn, New York. Andrew Lichtenstein / Corbis via Getty Images

The pandemic has affected everyone, but mental health experts warn that youth and teens are suffering disproportionately and that depression and suicide rates are increasing.

Read More Show Less

Trending

In an ad released by Republican Voters Against Trump, former coronavirus task force member Olivia Troye roasted the president for his response. Republican Voters Against Trump / YouTube

Yet another former Trump administration staffer has come out with an endorsement for former Vice President Joe Biden, this time in response to President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less
Climate Group

Every September for the past 11 years, non-profit the Climate Group has hosted Climate Week NYC, a chance for business, government, activist and community leaders to come together and discuss solutions to the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
A field of sunflowers near the Mehrum coal-fired power station, wind turbines and high-voltage lines in the Peine district of Germany on Aug. 3, 2020. Julian Stratenschulte / picture alliance via Getty Images

By Elliot Douglas

The coronavirus pandemic has altered economic priorities for governments around the world. But as wildfires tear up the west coast of the United States and Europe reels after one of its hottest summers on record, tackling climate change remains at the forefront of economic policy.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch