World population at 8b humans — and still growing

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The United Nations estimates that the global human population will reach eight billion by mid-November, and will continue to grow, albeit at a slower pace and with regional disparities, in the decades to come.

The UN Population Division estimates that the number of humans on Earth will grow to eight billion on November 15, more than three times higher than the 2.5 billion global headcount in 1950. However, after a peak in the early 1960s, the world’s population growth rate has decelerated dramatically, Rachel Snow of the UN Population Fund told AFP.

Annual growth has fallen from a high of 2.1 percent between 1962 and 1965 to below 1 percent in 2020. That figure could potentially fall to around 0.5 percent by 2050 due to a continued decline in fertility rates, the United Nations projects.

Given the increase in life expectancy as well as the number of people of childbearing age, the UN projects the population to continue growing to about 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050, and a peak of about 10.4 billion in the 2080s. Other groups have, however, calculated different figures.

The US-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) estimated in a 2020 study that the global population would max out by 2064, without ever reaching 10 billion, and decline to 8.8 billion by 2100. “We are lower than them (the UN) and I think we have a good reason,” lead author of the IHME study, Stein Emil Vollset, told AFP.

The University of Washington professor says that under their “quite different fertility model,” the human population will only reach somewhere between nine and 10 billion. —AFP

The United States will remain the third most populous country in 2050, the UN projects, but it will be tied with Nigeria at 375 million.—AFP

 

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