Tuesday, September 23, 2014

UN projects 11 billion humans in 2100 if African poverty continues

Due to sub-Saharan demographic momentum, the UN now projects world population growth to continue well into the 22nd century, crossing 11 billion in 2100. As African fertility doesn't fall as much as expected since the last projection, UN demographers decide to input a higher sub-Saharan birthrate for the rest of this century, leading to a bigger projected number down the road.
"I'll be my parents' welfare state"
The unsaid assumption behind this projection is that sub-Sahara Africans will not escape their current wretched conditions. Under the same conditions (no Social Security/Medicare/... nothing), Americans/Swedes... of yesterday or today's sub-Saharans all do the same: have lots of kids.

Is keeping Africans in poverty the way to save humanity from a demographic collapse? 80+ years is a long time to project anything seriously. My bet is that life will gradually improve in Africa and when it does, Africans will reproduce just like the German/Japanese do now.

From nationalgeographic.com: "A World With 11 Billion People?"

Demographers from several universities and the United Nations Population Division conclude that instead of leveling off in the second half of the 21st century, as the UN predicted less than a decade ago, the world's population will continue to grow beyond 2100.
In a paper in press at Global Environmental Change and in a forthcoming book, Wolfgang Lutz and his colleagues at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Vienna, Austria, use a very different method—one that involves canvassing a large group of experts—to argue that population is likely to peak at 9.4 billion in 2075 and fall to just under 9 billion by 2100.
Where they differ most is in their estimates of the coming population decline in China and of the coming population explosion in Africa south of the Sahara—where most of the world's growth is going to occur.

According to the UN, the population in that region could quadruple, from less than one billion to nearly four billion. Africa in 2100 would be as densely populated as China is today.

"These are not predictions," says Wilmoth. "These are projections of what will happen if current trends continue. There is still an opportunity to intervene."

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