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From 6 Billion to 7 Billion: How Population Growth is Challenging Our World. A Presentation by Robert J. Walker President of the Population Institute. It’s Not How Many People the World Can Contain…. It’s How Many People the Earth Can Sustain…. And at W hat Standard of Living….

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from 6 billion to 7 billion how population growth is challenging our world

From 6 Billion to 7 Billion: How Population Growth is Challenging Our World

A Presentation by Robert J. Walker

President of the Population Institute

the world s per capita gdp soared in the 20 th century
The World’s Per Capita GDP Soared in the 20th Century
  • Measured in constant 2000 dollars, the world’s per capital GDP grew from:
    • $850 in 1900
    • $8175 in 2000
conventional crude oil production has peaked
Conventional Crude Oil Production has Peaked
  • In its 2010 World Energy Outlook, the International Energy Administration projected that crude oil output would reach “an undulating plateau” of around 68-69 mb/d by 2020, but it would never again regain “its all-time peak of 70 mb/d reached in 2006.”
fossil fuel and cement co2 emissions source global carbon project

Growth rate


5.9% yr

Growth rate


3.1% per year

Growth rate


-1.3% per year

Growth rate


1% per year

Uncertainty (6-10%)



Fossil Fuel and Cement CO2 Emissions (Source: Global Carbon Project)
population projections for 2050 are rising
Population Projections for 2050 are Rising
  • Medium Variant Population Projection: Source: UN Population Division
  • 1999 Projection: 8.9 billion
  • 2011 Projection: 9.3 billion
no global birth dearth
No Global “Birth Dearth”
  • In 1999: Max Singer of the Hudson Institute wrote: “50 years from now the world’s population will be declining, with no end in sight.”
  • T0day: The latest UN projections show world population is rising with no end in sight:
      • 9.3 billion by 2050 (medium variant projection)
      • 10.0 billion by 2082 (medium variant projection)
      • Possibly as high as 15.6 billion by 2100 (high variaent projection)
age distribution of the world s population
Age Distribution of the World’s Population

Population Structures by Age and Sex, 2005


Less Developed Regions

More Developed Regions


80+ 75-79 70-74 65-69 60-64 55-59 50-54 45-49 40-44 35-39 30-34 25-29 20-24 15-19 10-14 5-9






Source: United Nations, World Population Prospects: The 2004 Revision, 2005.

the decline in adolescent pregnancy rates has stalled
The Decline in Adolescent Pregnancy Rates has Stalled
  • Number of Births per 1,000 Women (ages 15-19)in the Least Developed Countries: Source: UN Population Division 2010 Revision
  • 1990: 133.3
  • 2000: 116.7
  • 2007: 121.0
high adolescent pregnancy rates
High Adolescent Pregnancy Rates


  • Growth of the adolescent population
  • Decline in family planning assistance
  • Lack of access to contraceptives
  • Limited contraceptive choices
  • Lack of comprehensive sex education
  • Status of women and girls
  • Sexual coercion and abuse
  • Child marriage
child marriage
Child Marriage

“82 million girls in developing countries who are now between the ages of 10 and 17 will be married before their 18th birthday.” UNFPA

  • There are 950 million hungry people in the world today.
  • The Food and Agriculture Organization says world food production will need to increase by 70 percent to keep up with population and more meat-intensive diets.
  • Food production in the developing world will have to double just to keep up with population.
severe poverty
Severe Poverty
  • Rising food prices are pushing people into poverty. The urban poor spend 50-80 percent of their budget on food.
  • In 2010 alone, rising food prices pushed 44 million people into severe poverty.
  • Oxfam International warns that food prices could rise by 120-180 percent by 2030.
urban slums
Urban Slums
  • The size of the urban population in the developing world is growing faster than the general population.
  • In 1990, there were an estimated 657 million people living in urban slums. Today there are 828 million.
water scarcity
Water Scarcity
  • Water shortages have already reached crisis proportions in Western Asia and North Africa.
  • Demand for Water is expected to outstrip supply by 40 percent within the next 20 years.
  • Very little progress has been made in improving sanitation in the developing world.
  • Half of the population in the developing world is not using an improved form of sanitation. That’s 2.5 billion people.
shortages of arable land
Shortages of Arable Land
  • Agricultural areas have expanded by only five percent since the 1970s, and the capacity for further conversion is limited.
  • Much of the potentially arable land that remains is forest.
  • Biofuels are competing with food producers for arable land.
  • We are in the midst of a worldwide “land grab” by foreign interests in the developing world.
loss of topsoil
Loss of topsoil
  • The FAO estimates that by 2030, 135 million people may lose their land as result of soil degradation, including 60 million people in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Desertification is a major threat to China’s food production.
rising energy prices
Rising Energy Prices
  • No one knows how energy producers will meet the world’s growing demand for energy. We will need almost 50 percent more energy by 2030.
  • Rising energy prices are increasing the cost of producing and transporting food.
  • The rate of deforestation slowed in the past decade, but there are signs that rate of deforestation may be increasing again.
  • The world’s rising demand for lumber, palm oil, and soybeans is largely responsible.
rising temperatures
Rising Temperatures
  • The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reports that 2001-10 was the hottest decade on record.
  • Rising temperatures will curtail crop production in many areas by 10-20 percent.
  • Rising seas will inundate many rice producing areas in South and Southeast Asia.
severe weather
Severe Weather
  • Unless drastic steps are taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the world will suffer some of the worst effects of climate change.
  • Climate change experts believe that climate change will result in:
      • Intensified Droughts
      • Intensified Flooding
      • Intensified Storms
  • The annual marine fish catch peaked in 1996 at 83.3. million tons and it has been declining ever since. In 2008 it was 79.5 million tons.
  • Ninety percent of all large fish populations have disappeared.
  • Coral reefs are endangered.
loss of biodiversity
Loss of Biodiversity
  • Despite the Convention on Biological Diversity, the rate of plant and animal extinction is accelerating.
  • Scientists warns that human activity is causing the “Sixth Mass Extinction.”
failing states
Failing States
  • The number of failing states is on the rise.
  • While several factors account for the increase infailing states, virtually all failing states have high fertility rates that make it more difficult to reduce hunger and poverty.
  • Of the 20 countries that rank highest on the 2011 Failed States Index, all but one have a total fertility rate in excess of 3.5. More than half have a TFR of 5.0 or higher.

1.8 billion

7 billion

8.1 billion

10.9 billion

9.3 billion

changing atttitudes and behaviors through mass media
Changing Atttitudes and Behaviors through Mass Media

Population Media Center uses radio serial dramas (soap operas) to change atttitudes and behaviors:

  • Violence against women
  • Child marriage
  • Family planning and reproductive health
delaying age of marriage through economic incentives
Delaying Age of Marriage through Economic Incentives

Population Council: BerhaneHewan (“Light of Eve”) project in Amhara region of Ethiopia

  • Girls meet regularly to acquire life-time health skills.
  • Girls who complete the program receive a financial reward for completion (e.g. a goat).
8 1 billion in 2050 how did we get there
8.1 Billion in 2050—How did we get there?
  • We invested more in youth and adolescents
  • Girls were able to delay their age of marriage
  • Girls were able to stay in school longer
  • Attitudes toward girls and women improved
  • Boys and men treated girls and women with respect
8 1 billion in 2050 how did we get there1
8.1 billion in 2050—How did we get there?
  • Men and women, husbands and wives, actually talked about sex and childbearing
  • Girls and women were empowered
  • Modern contraceptives were widely available
  • Women had a range of contraceptives to choose from, and
  • Couples had children by choice, not by chance.
8 1 billion in 2050 what would it mean
8.1 Billion in 2050: What would it mean?
  • Universal access to reproductive health services became a reality, not just a right.
  • Maternal mortality fell sharply.
  • The number of women dying of unsafe abortions declined sharply.
  • More mothers lived long enough to see their children and their grandchildren grow up.
  • Many obstetric fistulas were prevented, and those that were not could be treated.
8 1 billion in 2050 what would it mean1
8.1 Billion in 2050: What would it mean?
  • The battle against HIV/AIDS and STIs was won.
  • The level of educational attainment went up, and the rate of poverty went down.
  • Full gender equality was achieved.
  • Food security was enhanced. Fewer people went hungry…or starved.
  • Water scarcity became more manageable.
8 1 billion in 2050 what would it mean2
8.1 Billion in 2050: What would it mean?
  • The gap between energy supply and the essential energy needs of the world was narrowed.
  • The threat of conflict was, correspondingly, diminished.
  • Income disparities declined. The gap between North and South narrowed.
  • Deforestation was slowed, perhaps halted.
8 1 billion in 2050 what would it mean3
8.1 Billion in 2050: What would it mean?
  • Climate change was mitigated and prospects for adapting to climate change improved.
  • More plants and animals survived threatened extinction.
  • We met—or began to meet--the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.