an illustration of a crowd of people

The world’s population is rising, but for how long?

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Right now, there are about 7.8 billion people on Earth, and that number keeps on growing. But could this growth be coming to an end? Experts have made a new prediction that Earth’s population will not reach 10 billion people. And the reasons why are surprisingly positive.

Where do people come from?

When we’re talking about population growth, it’s natural to think about babies.

Families come in many shapes and sizes. However, genetically speaking, two people make one baby. The population will stay about the same size when each adult has an average of two kids. If they have more than two on average, the population will grow, and fewer will cause the population to drop.

In 1990, adults had about three kids each, on average. By 2017, it had dropped to 2.4. This change is linked to two main factors. When people spend more years at school, they tend to have fewer kids. And they also have fewer kids when they have good access to healthcare.

But births are only half the picture when it comes to population growth. There are also fewer deaths. People are living much longer than they did 25 years ago.

What does the future hold?

For this report funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a team of experts extended the current trends out until 2100 and predicted the populations of every country in the world. They had several different predictions, some more optimistic and others less so.

Their ‘middle’ prediction continued the trends of the past. With more education and healthcare available for people around the world, the population will peak in 2064 at 9.73 billion people. By 2100, it will shrink back down to 8.79 billion people.

The report also touches on what this means for the world of the future. A shrinking population will help solve many of the world’s problems, including pollution, climate change and food security. But it’s not all good news. Among other issues, there will be more elderly people and fewer young people to care for them.

It’s hard to tell what will happen in the future, but for many people around the world, education and healthcare has been getting better for decades. And that trend is set to continue for decades to come.

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2 responses

  1. Matthew Avatar

    Could you please provide a link to further reading on these studies?

    1. David Avatar

      Hi Matthew,
      Here’s the paper:
      It’s reasonably readable for a scientific paper, but it’s still not easy.

      Here’s an in-depth press release:
      which is quite long but covers a lot of good stuff.

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