An anonymous reader writes "The question of global population is a pretty crucial one; how many people will there be in ten years? In forty? The New York Times notes research done by a group called the Worldwatch Institute, research that concludes world population figures are too fluid to make any sort of educated guesses. Childbearing populations combined with severe resource shortages in some parts of the world make pinning down a global headcount unfeasible for ten years from now, let alone out to 2050. The article continues beyond its original borders, as well, with commenters in the field of population studies noting we don't even have a good grasp on how many people were alive in 2007."