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World Population Could Reach Nearly 11 Billion By 2100 322

Posted by timothy
from the paging-dr-malthus dept.
vinces99 writes "A new analysis shows that world population could reach nearly 11 billion by the end of this century, according to a United Nations report issued June 13. That's about 800 million, or about 8 percent, more than the previous projection issued in 2011. The change is largely because birth rates in Africa have not declined as quickly as had been expected, according to Adrian Raftery of the University of Washington's Center for Statistics and the Social Sciences. The U.N. estimates use statistical methods developed at the center. The current African population is about 1.1 billion and it is now expected to reach 4.2 billion, nearly a fourfold increase, by 2100, Raftery said."
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World Population Could Reach Nearly 11 Billion By 2100

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  • What?!? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @02:56PM (#43999085)

    How the hell is the NSA supposed to keep track of all those people?!?!

    • Re:What?!? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Freshly Exhumed (105597) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @02:59PM (#43999141) Homepage

      Silly, when the big scooper trucks grab people up and feed them into the food chain the NSA will just file them under Project Make Room!

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by ArcadeMan (2766669)

        Silly, when the big scooper trucks grab people up and feed them into the food chain the NSA will just file them under Project Soylent Green!

        Fixed that for you.

    • by shentino (1139071)

      Finally, a good reason to stick with IPv4.

    • Re:What?!? (Score:5, Informative)

      by TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @03:23PM (#43999451)
      This makes little sense. The world population is supposed to peak in 2030 at 8.5 billion.

      http://www.businessinsider.com/analyst-world-population-will-peak-at-85-billion-in-2030-2012-11 [businessinsider.com]

      Even as population trends, this 11 billion by end of century figure is not believable. We can't predict the weather or climate change, but we can easily predict population growth and the African population growth angle is absolutely not justified in a non-speculative sociology realm.
      • by g0bshiTe (596213)
        Then explain how they can predict a population peak.
        • By being more clever than you! (Or me, for that matter. Come on, trust the experts at least once.)
          • Re:What?!? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @05:06PM (#44000919)
            There is science and this is done with statistical models and several decades of information to feed the data into the models. And then there is public opinion.

            Surprisingly, neither the models nor future results are much affected by public opinion, no matter what public opinion happens to be at the moment. One of these 2 methods is really useful for forecasting, the other not so much.
            • This is statistics which is a core part of science, statistics is not about absolute certainty. There is a chance of the 11B figure being correct which depends on the assumptions made about future human behavior, the perennial question is: does a slightly different set of assumptions return a figure that's (say) under 1B?
        • They use birth rates and death rates to calculate population models and these are very stable. + or - 3 billion for the continent of Africa? Not likely. I don't know if you are versed in statistics, but the population of a single continent doesn't fluctuate +/- 100% within a century due to a new model. Not for an established field with over 200 years of population trending.
      • by lobotomir (882610)
        You're effectively comparing one hypothetical model against the other. The models address conditions many decades from now. You cannot possibly make a dependable judgement as to which one makes sense.
    • Re:What?!? (Score:4, Funny)

      by zAPPzAPP (1207370) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @03:45PM (#43999721)

      There can only be so many different people.
      The trick is to spot all the doubles and save on diskspace and computing power!

  • Won't happen (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Niris (1443675) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @02:59PM (#43999151)
    Unless we can support that much life with food, water and other resources, war for diminishing resources will wipe out enough population before we even get close to that.
    • Re:Won't happen (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lgw (121541) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @03:19PM (#43999395) Journal

      Unless we can support that much life with food, water and other resources, war for diminishing resources will wipe out enough population before we even get close to that.

      Reverend Malthus wrote the same in 1798 in "An Essay on the Principle of Population", and was wrong then. Malthusian predictions have been wrong ever since.

      I fear there will be great loss of life in the region due to war, but such resources are only scarce where local governments force them to become so to gain control over their people.

      Technology improves faster than population grows. As population growth rate has been slowing down (as a %) and technological improvements have only come at a faster pace, it's a mystery why people think the problems will get worse.

      • Re:Won't happen (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 13, 2013 @03:24PM (#43999461)

        No technology can change the absolute fact that we have finite land and finite energy.

        Eventually, Malthus will be right.

        • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @03:29PM (#43999539)

          Eventually, Malthus will be right.

          Eventually, the universe will reach heat death where all useful energy has been used.

          • Eventually, Malthus will be right.

            Eventually, the universe will reach heat death where all useful energy has been used.

            That's not going to happen.

            Also, technological advances are a CONSEQUENCE of large populations. Small populations huddle around fires. Large populations are in everyone's best interest.

        • Re:Won't happen (Score:5, Informative)

          by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @04:29PM (#44000409)

          Water is a bit more of a concern.

          At current growth rates, the weight of humans would equal the weight of the planet in 500 years.

          At current energy growth rates since the 1600's, the earth will be hotter than boiling water in under 400 years.

          Clearly something has to give.

          So less energy per person- lower quality of life- less water per person.

          Deer do just fine until they wipe out their environment and die off. No war needed.

          When population density is high enough, minor disruptions in food and water delivery, or a disease can kill a lot of people really fast.

          Typical bad plague single pass would kill about 140 million people now. That's just 2%.

      • ... resources are only scarce where local governments force them to become so to gain control over their people.

        Currently true. However, there are hard limits as to how many people a certain tract of land will support.

      • Because population growth is relatively easy to model and has a nice continues slope.

        Predicating productivity growth (which is what really matters) is hard. Technological is only one part of productivity and is the hardest to model. It is not a nice curve. It’s lumpy – with huge fits and starts. Billions were spent on computers between 1960 to 1980 with little effect on productivity. In the 1980s the code was crack and massive productivity gains. Few people guess that the internet would have su

        • Billions were spent on computers between 1960 to 1980 with little effect on productivity. In the 1980s the code was crack and massive productivity gains.

          What do you mean by "the code was crack"? Has that anything to do with the war on drugs?

          Also, IT alone won't save you. It's just a tool, a lever that - I hope - will allow researchers in other areas to come up with ideas that will transform our industry and agriculture so that we won't be surprised when the need to switch to other sources of energy and raw inputs arises eventually. And you know what? In that role, computers have been put to work from the very beginning. No need to wait for PCs for kids to p

      • "Technology improves faster than population grows"

        So far.

      • Re:Won't happen (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Ichijo (607641) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @04:09PM (#44000125) Homepage Journal

        Technology improves faster than population grows.

        Technology hasn't yet stopped us from consuming natural resources faster than the Earth can replace them. Nor has it raised fuel efficiency in automobiles as quickly as the price of gasoline has been rising. So that "deus ex machina" that technology will solve all our problems doesn't seem to be working.

      • Re:Won't happen (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Pinky's Brain (1158667) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @04:29PM (#44000391)

        Yields per acreage are actually stalling ... and we haven't even hit peak phosphorus yet. Also a fair amount of the technology we use to increase yields is not exactly side effect free, insecticides for instance are killing bees and making people retards.

        How is the Egyptian government keeping water scarce?

    • Unless we can support that much life with food, water and other resources, war for diminishing resources will wipe out enough population before we even get close to that.

      Well, there's the problem with trends. Assuming they go on forever means that, for example, everyone should now have about 52 model-Ts in their garage. That said... the population has been increasing at an accelerating rate and there's no sign that it's going to slow down.

      The question isn't whether the planet can support that number, but what kind of life will be possible in that future. We may wind up breeding ourselves into anarchy as all but the richest of us struggle to keep enough food on our plates an

      • the population has been increasing at an accelerating rate and there's no sign that it's going to slow down.

        Actually there are plenty of signs that it is going to slow down. So many signs that population is expected to peak around the year 2011 and start decreasing.

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          the population has been increasing at an accelerating rate and there's no sign that it's going to slow down.

          Actually there are plenty of signs that it is going to slow down. So many signs that population is expected to peak around the year 2011 and start decreasing.

          It depends. Much of the population growth has been fueled by one thing - oil. The availability and low cost of oil pretty much created the population boom. After all, at the start of the 20th century, the world was only 2B or so (just over 1B at

          • Population growth is not fueld by oil

            That idea is completely retarded.

            Population is growing by poverty. By having no TV. By WANTING children to pay for the elderly parents. By fucking (because you have no TV, or for that matter no birth controll) by living in the third world.

            More or less all 1sr world countries population is onthe decline.

            In the 3rd world javing many childrens is considered necessary to survive.

            Change that mindset and the population will shrink.

      • Re:Won't happen (Score:5, Insightful)

        by j-beda (85386) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @03:44PM (#43999711) Homepage

        Well, there's the problem with trends. Assuming they go on forever means that, for example, everyone should now have about 52 model-Ts in their garage. That said... the population has been increasing at an accelerating rate and there's no sign that it's going to slow down.

        Except that the growth rate has been decreasing for a while now.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_growth#Human_population_growth_rate [wikipedia.org]

        Globally, the growth rate of the human population has been declining since peaking in 1962 and 1963 at 2.20% per annum. In 2009, the estimated annual growth rate was 1.1%.[5] The CIA World Factbook gives the world annual birthrate, mortality rate, and growth rate as 1.915%, 0.812%, and 1.092% respectively.[6] The last 100 years have seen a rapid increase in population due to medical advances and massive increase in agricultural productivity[7] made possible by the Green Revolution.[8][9][10]

        The actual annual growth in the number of humans fell from its peak of 88.0 million in 1989, to a low of 73.9 million in 2003, after which it rose again to 75.2 million in 2006. Since then, annual growth has declined. In 2009, the human population increased by 74.6 million, which is projected to fall steadily to about 41 million per annum in 2050, at which time the population will have increased to about 9.2 billion.[5] Each region of the globe has seen great reductions in growth rate in recent decades, though growth rates remain above 2% in some countries of the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa, and also in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.[11]

    • "Unless we can support that much life with food, water and other resources, war for diminishing resources will wipe out enough population before we even get close to that."

      I agree it won't happen, but it won't happen for other reasons.

      Studies like this invariably project current statistical trends onward as though they will never change. But that's BS, because they always change.

      If we take PAST studies, for example, even from just a few decades ago, we were told that China and India would have way more than twice as many people as they currently do. Further, food production trends were also projected as linear so even the population we really do have would have been sta

    • by g0bshiTe (596213)
      Or disease will.
    • by houghi (78078)

      We can. Look at all the food that is thrown away. Then there is the inefficient way of transferring calories by passing tit through animals first.

      Then there is the enormous over consumption of the western world.

      So I am sure if you look at how many calories we would need and how many we would be able to produce, it would be possible. To make the maximum amount of people possible, you would need to restrict consumption per person.

      So more a question of 'do we want it'? The answer is probably no as it would mea

    • From a global point of view there are not many "diminishing" resources.

      Only oil comes too mind directly, coal we still have for millenia and natural gas likely for hundrets of millenia.

      All other resources are always here. Iron, aliminium, glass ... all this can be recycled.

      So the wars are not really about resources (as you can easily get rid of your dependency on 'oil').

      They are about POWER.

  • by powermung (780700) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @03:01PM (#43999177)
    let alone 86+ years
    • by Synerg1y (2169962)

      Still makes a catchy headline though.

    • by Alomex (148003) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @04:17PM (#44000251) Homepage

      Actually 30 year projections when it comes to population are pretty accurate as the people who will be having children in thirty years are already born and hence their number is exact, all that is missing is the reproduction rate, which moves slowly.

      This is a common mistake by people who are not familiar with population projections. Thirty year time spans are "short" when it comes to population whereas they are absurdly long for almost anything else.

  • by intermodal (534361) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @03:07PM (#43999241) Homepage Journal

    I fully expect this comments section to be full of "but what about all the resources we need for..." fears about "overpopulation". Where there's a will, there's a way. The zero population growth people would have us believe that the numbers are very different from what they really are, but the world can produce a lot more food than we do, and with minimal changes, it could be greatly increased.

    • by gweihir (88907)

      Food is not all that is needed. Education, a _perspective_, freedom, clean water, health care etc. are not likely to be available to most of these people. And even food is doubtful. This planet is already massively over-populated.

      • NO its not, we are jsut assholes when it comes to distribution. We could EASILY feed, clothe and shelter every human on the planet if we abolished greed.
      • by Threni (635302)

        A cure for religion would be handy too.

    • by Holi (250190) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @03:16PM (#43999353)

      Food sure, but water? No desalinization is expensive and we already have water problems without a solution here in the First World. Imagine how much more trouble it causes the 3rd World.

      • You're saying something is presently costly, not that it's impossible or even that difficult.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Alomex (148003)

        Actually desalinization is coming down in price rapidly, in part because of better osmotic processes in part because cheaper and more efficient solar energy makes it more economical (bonus: most places where water is scarce are sunny).

    • by kenaaker (774785)
      And exactly what is going to get all this extra food production going? Good wishes?

      If the food is going to be produced in the western economy it's going to have to be sold for enough money to cover the cost of increasingly expensive fertilizer, seed, land, labor, and fuel that mechanized agriculture uses. If it's going to be produced in the under-developed parts of the world, the productivity of the local farmers is going to have to be increased dramatically. There's no plausible mechanism for that sort of

    • by s.petry (762400)

      If we had moved to sustainable living, I would agree with you. That is not what we have, and there is no push from Governments to make us cleaner.

      Instead of addressing pollution, we argue about "global warming" as if that is the root cause of our woes. It's not, but people are too stupid to see reality. Lobbyists pump money into politicians pockets to ensure that we can keep on polluting, and arguing everything except for the obvious.

      If we cleaned up, it would still take a long time for ocean dead zones

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by JeanCroix (99825)

        Things like shark fining,

        I hardly think placing surcharges on sharks will solve sustainability issues...

    • by swb (14022)

      The thing is, so many of our current problems -- climate change, environmental exploitation, pollution, energy scarcity, food costs and in many cases, political conflict are magnified greatly by large populations.

      It's really hard to see the benefit to human civilization that a global population of 8 or 10 billion brings versus 2 billion. Many of the extra 6 billion people are in poverty, live squalid lives and contribute to political instability. Those that aren't in poverty drive resource exploitation (e

    • ...the world can produce a lot more food than we do, and with minimal changes, it could be greatly increased.

      Patently absurd, unless your definition if minimal change mean "whatever change is needed bar the consequences." The US, Europe, and Middle East were practically deforested over the last 2000 years. Thousand of species have forced to extinction. The Great Plains of the US are now a great desert. Stalin did pretty much the same thing in Russia. The great reefs of the world are on a decline and probably unrecoverable. And, what, climate change/global warming doesn't exist either? Our footprint is on th

  • by rossdee (243626)

    Climate change could cause drought and famine in many 3rd world countries where most of the growth is happening, and we end up with half that population

  • ...gave Dr. Evil a million dollars he'd have (da daaa dadada dadada) 11 MILLION BILLION DOLLARS!!!!

    Muahahaaha! Muahahaha!!!!

  • Did they factor in the Mars population though? You obviously have to subtract that.
  • We need a Paula [imdb.com]. Vulcans? Hell, I'd take Vogons at this point.

    Paula: Look, many young men who should be able to move out, simply can't. It's called "failure to launch". And that's where I come in. Young men develop self-esteem best during a romantic relationship, so I simulate one. We have a memorable meeting. We get to know each other over a few casual meals, he helps me through an emotional crisis, then I meet his friends, if he has any... Then I let him teach me something... But the bottom line is, he bonds with me. He lets go of you. He moves out.

  • Or, it could peak at 10 billion [ted.com], with little to no ill effect.
  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @03:40PM (#43999665)

    I wouldn't put much faith in long term predictions. 2100 is 87 years away. 87 years ago, it was 1926. In 1927, the world's population reached 2 billion (up from 1 billion in 1804). Had they made a prediction then, they would have likely guessed that we'd hit 3 billion by 2049. Maybe 4 billion if they thought we were doubling population numbers. In addition, if someone from 1926 tried predicting what the technology of 2013 would be like, I highly doubt they'd be anywhere close.

    My prediction? In 87 years, the world will look in many ways the same and in many ways vastly different in ways that I couldn't begin to imagine at this point.

  • So I'm doing my part!

  • Not if Carbon Dioxide has anything to say about it.

  • by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @04:00PM (#43999983)

    Exterminate, EXTERMINATE!

  • by EvilSS (557649)
    Well, I'll do my part and die sometime between now and then, so put me down for -1.
  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @04:05PM (#44000069)

    Free software engineering degrees. The massive increase in geek population will no doubt cause reproduction rates to plummet. Throw in government-subsidized WoW accounts and we'll have negative population growth in 4 years tops!

  • by cervesaebraciator (2352888) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @04:07PM (#44000083)

    Predictions of Malthusian nightmares rarely seem to take birth control into account. We should keep in mind that effective hormonal birth control has only been widely available in the West since the seventies. In that short (yes, very short) amount of time it had to become both cheap enough and socially acceptable enough to make a demographic dent. We're only beginning to see the effects but even so 48% of the world's population lives in countries with sub-replacement fertility rates [un.org]. Immigration props up most of the developed world demographically, but even so countries with some of the most advanced economies, like Germany and Japan, are experiencing a contraction of their populations. Indeed the latter, with its aversion to immigration, faces demographic collapse.

    There's a lot of reason to be concerned about pressure of resources as the developing world grows and developing economies advance. But much of the increased pressure is caused by people taking on aspects of Western life--consumerism, purchase of electronic conveniences which become apparent necessities (cell phone, computers, etc), and the increasing use of cars. But aside from stable polities, few things make life more comfortable in the West than birth control. If there was a bit of lag time, and indeed a small amount, before widespread adoption of birth control in the West would make a demographic difference, why should we not expect developing countries to follow suit shortly?

  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @04:15PM (#44000205)

    Read a headline from the 1890's in the Tribune when they estimated the horse poop would be 6ft deep by 1920 in the streets. Of course then came the automobile. That's the problem with all these long term prediction models. Things change in ways they never can account for.

  • The UN has consistently overestimated population growth since 1980. They issue low, medium and high projections with the low variant being the one that consistently comes to pass.

    The sole exception is Africa where growth over the last 10 years has exceeded the low variant. Now they have swiftly corrected this mistake by making an absurd 4 billion people in Africa projection. So we are back to normal UN population division working mode. Their motto is: population growth wildly overestimated the world over.

  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Thursday June 13, 2013 @04:24PM (#44000343)

    I've said for years it won't slow down like they think.

    You are already seeing subcultures in the 1st world which are breeding at a higher rate for a variety of reasons (religion is significant).

    If you view humans as a virus- those which breed quickly seem plausible to become the dominant group in the population.

    Sad, because the earth is a paradise at about 2 to 3 billion.

    We are way past the earth's carrying capacity and it's too late to change anything.

    I expect that, like deer, we'll do fine until there is a glitch, virus, etc. and then a billion or more will die fairly quickly. Hopefully after I'm dead of natural causes.

    We are making a lot of progress on disease so I'm thinking disruption of food delivery or destruction of water supply is more likely-- lots of aquifers being drawn down now.

For God's sake, stop researching for a while and begin to think!

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