Earth needs to find room for a substantial increase in the human population over the next century. A new model indicates that if current growth trends don't change dramatically, there will be around 4 billion extra people knocking around the planet by 2100.
Based on current models of growth, the human population will boom up to 9.7 billion in 2050 from its current figure of 7.3 billion. Even more shockingly, it will continue to expand to 11.2 billion by the end of the century if fertility rates do not drop. These findings were announced by John R. Wilmoth, director of the United Nations Population Division, at the 2015 Joint Statistical Meetings in Seattle.
The alarming findings were made using population models of demographic change from historical data. The resulting population estimates range between 9.5 and 13.3 billion people in 2100. This is the scenario that the world seriously faces if fertility rates continue at their current rate. The chief contributor to the population increase are regions in sub-Saharan Africa.
While only predictions, the statistics are important for policymakers to keep in mind when planning for the future. For example, the model predicts that the U.S. will be accommodating 1.5 million extra people each year until the end of the century. By 2100, the population will have increased by a third: This is an increase from 322 million civilians to 450 million.
It is these sorts of findings that politicians should be paying attention to in order to better prepare nations for the increased number of people they will need to accommodate and feed. A major upheaval of policies regarding energy, health care, jobs and pensions will likely be required when the increase in population stresses national governments. Issues such as pollution management and crime will also likely become more complicated.
Developing countries – such as China, Brazil and India – will possibly face some of the most dramatic social changes. Their populations are composed mostly of young people, and as their population ages and grows, the question will be whether there is support in place for this longer lifestyle.