A view of a heavily populated part of earth from above

Population can’t be ignored. It has to be part of the policy solution to our world’s problems

world population problem solving example che and nel camino

Professor of Public Policy, ADFA Canberra, UNSW Sydney

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Jenny Stewart does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

UNSW Sydney provides funding as a member of The Conversation AU.

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There is a growing consensus that environmental problems, particularly the effects of climate change, pose a grave challenge to humanity. Pollution, habitat destruction, intractable waste issues and, for many, deteriorating quality of life should be added to the list.

Economic growth is the chief culprit. We forget, though, that environmental impacts are a consequence of per capita consumption multiplied by the number of people doing the consuming. Our own numbers matter.

Population growth threatens environments at global, national and regional scales. Yet the policy agenda either ignores human population, or fosters alarm when perfectly natural trends such as declining fertility and longer lifespans cause growth rates to fall and populations to age.

That there are still too many of us is a problem few want to talk about. Fifty years ago, population was considered to be an issue , not only for the developing world, but for the planet as a whole. Since then, the so-called green revolution in agriculture made it possible to feed many more people. But the costs of these practices, which relied heavily on pesticide and fertiliser use and relatively few crops, are only now beginning to be understood.

The next 30 years will be critical. The most recent United Nations projections point to a global population of 9.7 billion by 2050 and 10.4 billion by 2100. There are 8 billion of us now. Another 2 billion will bring already stressed ecosystems to the point of collapse.

A line graph showing global population growth since 1950 and projection to 2100.

It’s the whole world’s problem

Many would agree overpopulation is a problem in many developing countries, where large families keep people poor. But there are too many of us in the developed world, too. Per person, people in high-income countries consume 60% more resources than in upper-middle-income countries and more than 13 times as much as people in low-income countries.

From 1995 to 2020, the UK population, for example, grew by 9.1 million. A crowded little island, particularly around London and the south-east, became more crowded still.

Similarly, the Netherlands, one of the most densely populated countries , had just under 10 million inhabitants in 1950 and 17.6 million in 2020. In the 1950s, the government encouraged emigration to reduce population densities. By the 21st century, another 5 million people in a tiny country certainly caused opposition to immigration, but concern was wrongly focused on the ethnic composition of the increase. The principal problem of overpopulation received little attention.

Australia is celebrated as “a land of boundless plains to share”. In reality it’s a small country that consists of big distances.

As former NSW Premier Bob Carr predicted some years ago, as Australia’s population swelled, the extra numbers would be housed in spreading suburbs that would gobble up farmland nearest our cities and threaten coastal and near-coastal habitats. How right he was. The outskirts of Sydney and Melbourne are carpeted in big, ugly houses whose inhabitants will be forever car-dependent.

An aerial view of city suburbs stretching out to the horizon

Doing nothing has a high cost

The longer we do nothing about population growth, the worse it gets. More people now inevitably mean more in the future than there would otherwise have been.

We live very long lives, on average, so once we’re born, we tend to stick around. It takes a while for falling birthrates to have any impact.

And when they do, the population boosters respond with cries of alarm. The norm is seen as a young or youngish population, while the elderly are presented as a parasitical drag upon the young.

Falling reproduction rates should not be regarded as a disaster but as a natural occurrence to which we can adapt.

Recently, we have been told Australia must have high population growth, because of workforce shortages. It is rarely stated exactly what these shortages are, and why we cannot train enough people to fill them.

Population and development are connected in subtle ways, at global, national and regional scales. At each level, stabilising the population holds the key to a more environmentally secure and equitable future.

For those of us who value the natural world for its own sake, the matter is clear – we should make room for other species. For those who do not care about other species, the reality is that without a more thoughtful approach to our own numbers, planetary systems will continue to break down.

Line graph showing the probabilities of global population projections and the impacts of having 0.5 more or less children per woman

Let women choose to have fewer children

So, what to do? If we assume the Earth’s population is going to exceed 10 billion, the type of thinking behind this assumption means we are sleepwalking our way into a nightmarish future when a better one is within our grasp.

A radical rethink of the global economy is needed to address climate change. In relation to population growth, if we can move beyond unhelpful ideologies, the solution is already available.

People are not stupid. In particular, women are not stupid. Where women are given the choice, they restrict the number of children they have. This freedom is as basic a human right as you can get.

A much-needed demographic transition could be under way right now, if only the population boosters would let it happen.

Those who urge greater rates of reproduction, whether they realise it or not, are serving only the short-term interests of developers and some religious authorities, for whom big societies mean more power for themselves. It is a masculinist fantasy for which most women, and many men, have long been paying a huge price.

Women will show the way, if only we would let them.

  • Climate change
  • Overpopulation
  • Population growth
  • Planetary boundaries
  • Global population
  • UK population
  • Australian population
  • Fertility rates
  • world population

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World's population could plummet to 6 billion by the end of the century, study suggests

A new model has predicted that Earth's population is likely to decrease in all scenarios across the next century and will peak nowhere near the 11 billion previously forecast.

Crowds gather at Tokyo's Shibuya Crossing to celebrate the start of the New Year on Dec. 31 2022. Japan's sharply declining birthrate is a growing political problem, and its Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, has warned that the country may be unable to function if births do not rise.

Population growth could grind to a halt by 2050, before decreasing to as little as 6 billion humans on Earth in 2100, a new analysis of birth trends has revealed.

The study, commissioned by the nonprofit organization The Club of Rome, predicts that if current trends continue, the world's population, which is currently 7.96 billion , will peak at 8.6 billion in the middle of the century before declining by nearly 2 billion before the century's end. 

The forecast is both good and bad news for humanity: A plummeting human population will slightly alleviate Earth's environmental problems, but it is far from being the most important factor in solving them. 

And falling populations will make humanity older as a whole and lower the proportion of working-age people, placing an even greater burden on the young to finance health care and pensions. The researchers — members of the Earth4All collective , which is made up of environmental scientists and economists — published their findings March 27 in a working paper .

Related: Why global population growth will grind to a halt by 2100

"We know rapid economic development in low-income countries has a huge impact on fertility rates," Per Espen Stoknes , director of the Centre for Sustainability at Norwegian Business School and the project lead of Earth4All, said in a statement . "Fertility rates fall as girls get access to education and women are economically empowered and have access to better healthcare." 

The study is a follow-up to The Club of Rome's 1972 Limits to Growth study, which warned the world of an imminent "population bomb." The new result diverges from other recent population forecasts. For instance, in 2022, the United Nations estimated that the world population would reach 9.7 billion by 2050 and rise to 10.4 billion by 2100. U.N. estimates from a decade ago suggested the population would reach 11 billion .

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Other models forecast population growth based on factors that affect women's social independence and bodily autonomy, such as access to education and contraception. Earth4All's model is slightly more complex, integrating variables connected to the environment and the economy. These include energy abundance, inequality, food production, income levels and the impacts of future global warming.

The model predicted two possible outcomes for the future human population. The first, "business-as-usual" case — in which governments continue on their current trajectories of inaction, creating ecologically fragile communities vulnerable to regional collapses — would see populations rise to 9 billion people by 2050 and decline to 7.3 billion in 2100. The second, more optimistic scenario — in which governments invest in education, improved equality and green transitions — would result in 8.5 billion people on the planet by the century's halfway point and 6 billion by 2100.

The team also investigated the connection between population sizes and the planet's ability to sustain human populations. They found that, contrary to popular Malthusian narratives, population size is not the key factor driving climate change. Instead, they pinned the blame on high levels of consumption by the world's richest individuals, which they say must be reduced.

"Humanity's main problem is luxury carbon and biosphere consumption, not population," Jorgen Randers , one of the modelers at the Norwegian School of Business and a member of Earth4All, said in the statement. "The places where population is rising fastest have extremely small environmental footprints per person compared with the places that reached peak population many decades ago."

Ben Turner

Ben Turner is a U.K. based staff writer at Live Science. He covers physics and astronomy, among other topics like tech and climate change. He graduated from University College London with a degree in particle physics before training as a journalist. When he's not writing, Ben enjoys reading literature, playing the guitar and embarrassing himself with chess.

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Are we preparing for world population growth? The experts are divided

world population is declining

Increasing populations could cause problems according to some researchers. Image:  Cory Schadt/Unsplash

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  • Nearly 11 billion people will be on Earth by the end of the century, the United Nations says.
  • But a new study suggests that’s no longer the most likely scenario and forecasts a peak just after mid-century and then a decline.
  • The University of Washington says the world population will fall in the last third of this century to 8.8 billion in 2100.
  • Understanding how populations could evolve matters because it affects the strategies put in place by global governments and industries.

Overpopulation is a concept that’s hovered over the Earth’s future for some time.

It has inspired many works, including Stephen Emmott’s 10 Billion , which outlines a future of food shortages, energy wars and civil conflict.

But what if studies invoking concerns about a fast-rising world population were wrong? That could be the case, according to The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which challenges the assumptions behind predictions for continued growth and says a declining and ageing population will be key future challenges .

That sets it at odds with the United Nations which predicts that the global population will continue to grow, albeit at a slower pace, and will reach 10.9 billion in 2100, up from around 7.7 billion people in 2019.

Have you read?

Bye, bye, baby birthrates are declining globally – here's why it matters, africa’s population will triple by the end of the century even as the rest of the world shrinks, this is how to sustainably feed 10 billion people by 2050, why do these predictions matter.

Understanding how populations could evolve matters because future population sizes underpin future strategies for governments and industries around the world; they need to plan for key investments in infrastructure or goals for international development and carbon emission reductions. A decline, instead of an increase, would have many implications.

“Our forecasts for a shrinking world population have positive implications for the environment, climate change, and food production,” the researchers, led by Professor Stein Emil Vollset, wrote. “But possible negative implications for labour forces, economic growth, and social support systems.”

How do the world population predictions vary?

Population boom and bust?

The world population may peak in 2064 at 9.7 billion and then decline to around 8.8 billion by 2100, the University of Washington researchers wrote in The Lancet.

Total world population from 2010 to 2020.

There is a global myth that productivity declines as workers age. In fact, including older workers is an untapped source for growth.

The world has entered a new phase of demographic development where people are living longer and healthier lives. As government pension schemes are generally ill-equipped to manage this change, insurers and other private-sector stakeholders have an opportunity to step in.

The World Economic Forum, along with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and AARP , have created a learning collaborative with over 50 global employers including AIG, Allianz, Aegon, Home Instead, Invesco and Mercer. These companies represent over two million employees and $1 trillion in annual revenue.

Learn more in our impact story .

The UN’s prediction of 10.9 billion by 2100 is based, at least in part, on “the unprecedented ageing of the world’s population”, as well as “rapid population growth driven by high fertility” in some countries and regions.

Whereas, the University of Washington’s researchers argue that a population decline will be linked to the attainment of developmental goals, for example the education of women and girls and their access to contraception.

“The different outcomes reflect the uncertainty in making projections over such a long time period,” says Leontine Alkema, a statistical modeller at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, discussing discrepancies in population data for a Nature article .

“It’s kind of an impossible exercise and so we do the best we can and it’s good that different groups use different approaches.”

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  • 04 April 2022
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Global population is crashing, soaring and moving

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8 Billion and Counting: How Sex, Death, and Migration Shape Our World Jennifer D. Sciubba W. W. Norton & Company (2022)

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doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-022-00926-6

Updates & Corrections

Correction 07 April 2022 : An earlier version of this book review erroneously stated that one-quarter of the Japanese population was expected to have dementia by 2045. In fact, the proportion refers only to people aged older than 65.

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There are now more people over age 65 than under five—what that means

People are living longer and having fewer kids, presenting new challenges and opportunities.

an elderly couple reading next to a window.

As demographics shift around the world, socioeconomic consequences emerge.

For almost all of human history, the Earth’s population has skewed younger. But since the last World Population Day on July 11, a major shift occurred: There are now more people age 65 and older than there are under age five.

World Population Day was established by the United Nations Development Program in 1989 to bring attention to population issues . Having more people on the planet is not the only concern, though, since a population’s age structure matters too.

Increased longevity is a remarkable human success story, but having more elderly people also creates a number of pressing socioeconomic concerns. The global population will continue to age as these two groups grow in opposite directions. By 2050, the proportion of the population aged 65 and older will rise to nearly 16 percent—more than double that of children under five.

“The triangle-shaped population pyramid is a thing of the past in many countries—now it’s shaped like a barrel,” says researcher Toshiko Kaneda of the Population Reference Bureau. Fertility declines, the main driver, along with longer life expectancies shaped this new pattern.

Population pyramid graphs help demographers show age distribution as a percentage of the population that falls in each age bracket. More rectangular graphs like a barrel signify that population growth is slowing, and that population size is more or less uniform across age groups, while triangle-shaped ones indicate the population is young and growing.

Time to prepare?

Most developed countries have been aging for a century, giving them time to prepare for the societal-wide changes. But developing countries will become old before they become rich, Kaneda explains. Many countries in Latin America and Asia are aging much faster and have less time and resources to prepare their pension and health-care systems.

What are the consequences of an older global population? Supporting elderly people is more expensive than caring for young ones. Pressing issues arise like how to provide long-term care, structure pension systems, and maintain a labor force. In developed regions like Europe, where 10 percent of the population over age 50 is childless, elderly care is a major worry.

The aging trend is most prevalent in Japan, Europe, North America, and other developed countries. Though the U.S.’s baby boomer generation started turning 65 in 2011, the country is rather young among other developed countries, partly due to the higher than average fertility rates of its immigrant population.

“Not a single country has been able to reverse declining trends in fertility despite government pleas for people to procreate as has been done across Europe and in Japan,” Kaneda says. “The aging trend is persistent.”

Fertility rates are near or below replacement level in all world regions except Africa.

Sluggish economic development, limited improvement in female access to education , and increases in mortality due to the AIDS epidemic have kept the continent relatively fertile.

Government action

Some developing countries have taken the opposite approach of aging countries like Japan and Italy by using policy measures to limit reproduction. China and India introduced family planning initiatives in the 1970s, but China’s had more impact and is aging faster as a result.

RELATED: See Brighton Beach babushkas compete to be this year's most fabulous grandma

Grandma beauty contest in Brighton Beach

But declining fertility rates can have positive effects too, says Kaneda. When fertility rates decline but the population hasn’t aged yet, governments can spend more on secondary and higher education, and boost the economy. Both Thailand and South Korea have seized the opportunity during this ideal population structure grace period.

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world population problem solving example che and nel camino

The 2022 Revision of World Population Prospects is the twenty-seventh edition of official United Nations population estimates and projections that have been prepared by the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat. It presents population estimates from 1950 to the present for 237 countries or areas, underpinned by analyses of historical demographic trends. This latest assessment considers the results of 1,758 national population censuses conducted between 1950 and 2022, as well as information from vital registration systems and from 2,890 nationally representative sample surveys The 2022 revision also presents population projections to the year 2100 that reflect a range of plausible outcomes at the global, regional and national levels.

The main results are presented in a series of Excel files displaying key demographic indicators for each UN development group, World Bank income group, geographic region, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) region, subregion and country or area for selected periods or dates within 1950-2100. An online database (Data Portal) provides access to a subset of key indicators and interactive data visualization, including an open API for programmatic access. For advanced users who need to use these data in a database form or statistical software, we recommend to use the CSV format for bulk download. Special Aggregates also provide additional groupings of countries. For the first time, the estimates and projections are presented in one-year intervals of age and time instead of the five-year intervals used previously. The various datasets disaggregated by age are available in two forms: by standard 5-year age groups and single ages.

Additional outputs, including results from the probabilistic projections, and more detailed metadata will be posted soon after the initial public release.

world population problem solving example che and nel camino

Disclaimer: This web site contains data tables, figures, maps, analyses and technical notes from the current revision of the World Population Prospects. These documents do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

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Children in Namarjung, Western Development Region, Nepal, 2017. Rebecca Zaal/Pexels

The Global Population Will Soon Reach 8 Billion—Then What?

About the author, michael herrmann.

Michael Herrmann is Senior Adviser, Economics and Demography, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

11 July 2022

L ater this year, on 15 November 2022, the world population is projected to reach 8 billion . Seventy years ago, in 1952, it stood at 2.5 billion; and 70 years from now, by 2092, it will have grown by another 2.5 billion over current levels. Global population growth has been the overarching demographic story for decades and will remain a predominant trend for many years to come. Underneath this trend, however, lies growing demographic diversity. It is necessary to come to terms with this diversity to understand and address the increasingly divergent concerns of countries with demographic shifts, and we must support sustained and sustainable development.

Global demographic trends mask great diversity

In 1994, widespread concern over population growth brought world leaders together at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), held in Cairo, Egypt, in 1994 . Today, however, countries are concerned with a much wider range of demographic changes. Over previous decades, all world regions have seen marked improvements in life expectancy and falling fertility rates, which explain the rapid aging of populations everywhere, but important differences exist between regions. Population growth is currently concentrated in the world’s poorest countries, which remain at a relatively early stage of the demographic transition, while some of the richest countries are beginning to see population decline. Such decline has happened before—mostly during wars and famines—but this time it is different.

At the global level, population decline is driven by low and falling fertility levels. In 2019, more than 40 per cent of the world population lived in countries that were at or below the replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman ; in 2021, this share climbed to 60 per cent. Net immigration has circumvented population decline in some Western European countries, for example, but high net emigration has exacerbated population decline in some of their Eastern European neighbours.

While the status quo might be comfortable for many, we need to recognize that the notion of a stable population is unrealistic.

Growing concerns about demographic shifts

Growing demographic diversity means diverging concerns about demographic change: While some of the poorest countries are concerned with how they can meet the needs of a large and growing population, some of the richest are worried about how they can promote fertility. Accordingly, countries now increasingly pursue divergent population policies with opposing objectives. Furthermore, over time, some countries have adjusted their population policies in response to new and emerging demographic realities. They have moved from policies focused on reducing fertility levels to explicitly pro-natalist policies seeking to raise fertility levels. These policy shifts are motivated by concerns about demographic change. Common worries are that population ageing and decline result in labour and skills shortages, weaken economic productivity and innovation, slow economic growth and development, impose unsustainable fiscal pressure on governments and people, lead to cultural and ethnic shifts in societies, and weaken the political and military power of countries. These demographic anxieties are apparent not only in populist media but also in political debate and indeed in academic literature that speaks of new “population busts”.

Whether these worries are justified, exaggerated or misguided, demographic changes do have far-reaching implications for sustainable development. Demographic change was identified by the United Nations Secretary-General as one of the megatrends that are greatly influencing the progress of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. They shape the objectives to provide essential goods and services for the population—including food, water, energy, housing, infrastructure, health, education and social protection—as well as prospects for full employment, better living standards and reduced environmental pressures. Meeting the needs and lifting the living standards of a large and growing world population will require higher levels of production and result in greater consumption. Without green reforms in energy, manufacturing and transport, as well as changes in human behaviour, this will place mounting pressures on the natural environment.

Mothers wait with their babies to be attended by a midwife at Ntimaru Sub County Level 4 Hospital in Kehancha, Migori County, Kenya, 8 June 2022. UNFPA

Renewed focus on population policies

Concerns over demographic shifts have raised questions about the existence of an ideal population size related to the notion of a stable population and reinvigorated interest in demographic policy. It has long been thought that a fertility rate of 2.1 is ideal, but what does this actually mean? Arguing for a rate of 2.1 when the world population was 4 billion is very different from making the same argument when the world population has reached 8 billion. The only way this can be explained is that there exist both an overriding interest in stable population numbers and a fear of any demographic change. While the status quo might be comfortable for many, we need to recognize that the notion of a stable population is unrealistic. The only constant is change; this certainly holds true for demographic shifts and it is best to come to terms with such change.

Any effort to define and achieve an ideal population size is prone to failure. First, we do not agree on a common set of criteria to define an ideal population size. Is it the size of the population we need to ensure the solvency of pension funds and meet the labour demands of businesses, or to minimize the environmental impact of human activity, currently or in the future?

Second, even if we did agree on these overarching criteria, we do not have the instruments to achieve an ideal population size. Efforts to boost fertility typically have temporary effects but they have not resulted in a sustained turnaround.

Finally, even if we knew how to boost fertility, we would need to decide whether this would be a temporary or permanent policy. If it is temporary, it only postpones the various challenges of population ageing and decline; if it is permanent, it causes a whole host of other problems.

Whatever the demographic situation of a country, it cannot justify population policies that undermine basic human rights.

The centrality of reproductive rights and choices

Of the three principal determinants of demographic change—fertility, life expectancy and net migration—most demographic policies focus on fertility. This is because life expectancy has only one acceptable direction of change, and migration is often viewed as too sensitive or complicated to be addressed by policymakers. With some caution, the difference between desired and actual fertility levels can be interpreted as a space for rights-based intervention to help people achieve their fertility preferences. In the poorest countries, a relatively large number of women have more children than they desire: To date, there are about 222 million women with an unmet need for family planning. In other countries, a rapidly growing number of women wish for more children. Undoubtedly, more can be done in all world regions to support women—and their partners—in achieving their fertility preferences.

This year’s edition of the flagship report of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), The State of the World Population 2022 , put a spotlight on unintended pregnancies. The report showed not only that many women have more children than they want, but also that many of them are not able to time and space births as they would like. According to the report, about half of all pregnancies worldwide are unintended, and more than half of those end in abortion, regardless of the legal context. The shockingly common inability of women to control their own bodies and reproduction represents a major failure of societies to ensure one of the most basic human rights, namely that of bodily autonomy.

In short, policies that help people achieve desired fertility can be perfectly compatible with and supportive of fundamental human rights. However, there is emerging evidence that some of the highly problematic policies aimed at controlling population numbers are gradually being replaced by other complex and difficult policies aimed at boosting population numbers. For fear of population decline, some countries are becoming less ambitious in ensuring universal access to family planning; some are restricting the right to abortion; some are banning sex education from school curricula; and some are propagating gender stereotypes that run counter to the empowerment and equality of women. Whatever the demographic situation of a country, it cannot justify population policies that undermine basic human rights.

Health worker Aydah Mohamed attending to neonatal babies at Al Shaab Hospital in Aden, Yemen, 24 February 2022. UNFPA

Against this backdrop, three potential solutions emerge:

1.      Plan ahead, using population data . Few outcomes within the realm of the social sciences can be projected with such a high degree of confidence as demographic change. Yes, there are notable differences in population projections 100 years out, but the differences are very small for the next 30 years, which is the period that really matters for policymaking. Countries must make more systematic efforts to collect population data, produce population projections and use those projections for policymaking. Had they done so in the past, current conditions of population ageing and decline would have come as no surprise and would hardly be seen as a “population bust” with potentially explosive implications. Countries must systematically consider demographic change in the formulation of development strategies, policies and programmes. Without knowledge of how many people exist, how old they are and where they live, and how population numbers, age structures and spatial distribution will change, countries will not be able to understand the current and future needs of their populations. Without demographic insights, evidence-based and people-centred policies will be questions of chance rather than design.

2.      Build resilient institutions and societies . Countries need to consider and plan for future demographic changes and build institutions and societies that are resilient to and can thrive amid these demographic changes. Rather than focusing efforts on changing population numbers to meet the needs of economic systems, for example, countries should create economic systems that meet the needs of the population.

3.      Pursue people-centred population policies. Instead of top-down population policies that focus on ill-defined and illusive demographic targets, countries should pursue people-centred population policies. Such policies would focus on empowering people to achieve their reproductive aspirations through the realization of sexual and reproductive health and rights, and support rather than undermine fundamental human rights more broadly. In many of the poorest countries, such policies would contribute to lower fertility rates and decelerate population growth; in others, they would contribute to higher fertility levels and arrest population decline. The only feasible and acceptable way to shape demographic change is through the empowerment of people.

To harness the power of 8 billion people it will be necessary to look beyond the aggregate and empower 8 billion individuals. This challenge has gotten bigger, however, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on research conducted by the World Bank, Oxfam has estimated that, in 2022, the number of people living in extreme poverty will be more than a quarter billion higher than would have otherwise been the case, amounting to 860 million . To date, millions of people continue to live in poverty and suffer from hunger, do not have access to health care or social protection, do not have decent work, and are unable to achieve primary and secondary education. Millions of women, in particular, lack equal opportunities. The world must stand as one and redouble its efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda and ensure progress towards the SDGs—it is the only way to realize the power of 8 billion people.

The UN Chronicle  is not an official record. It is privileged to host senior United Nations officials as well as distinguished contributors from outside the United Nations system whose views are not necessarily those of the United Nations. Similarly, the boundaries and names shown, and the designations used, in maps or articles do not necessarily imply endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations.

Mali-New mother, Fatoumata 01/24/2024 ©UNFPA Mali/Amadou Maiga

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The LDC Future Forum: Accelerating the Attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals in the Least Developed Countries

The desired outcome of the LDC Future Forums is the dissemination of practical and evidence-based case studies, solutions and policy recommendations for achieving sustainable development.

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Population Matters

Although population growth in the 20th and 21st centuries has skyrocketed , it can be slowed, stopped and reversed through actions which enhance global justice and improve people’s lives. Under the United Nations’ most optimistic scenario, a sustainable reduction in global population could happen within decades.

We need to take many actions to reduce the impact of those of us already here – especially the richest of us who have the largest environmental impact – including through  reducing consumption   to sustainable levels, and systemic economic changes .

One of the most effective steps we can take to reduce our collective environmental impact is to choose smaller family size , and empower those who can’t make that choice freely to do so.


A little less makes a lot of difference

The United Nations makes a range of projections for future population growth, based on assumptions about how long people will live, what the fertility rate will be in different countries and how many people of childbearing age there will be. Its main population prediction is in the middle of that range – 9.7bn in 2050 and 10.4bn in 2100.

It also calculates that if, on average, every other family had one fewer child than it has assumed (i.e. ‘half a child less’ per family), there will be one billion fewer of us than it expects by 2050 – and about 3.5 billion fewer by the end of the century (within the lifetimes of many children born now). If that happens, our population will be smaller than it is today.

We can bring birth rates down

Many countries have had success in reducing their birth rates through policies which improved lives and empowered people. Our report Power to the People: how population policies work looks at some examples and the evidence that shows how different approaches work. Thailand, for instance, reduced its fertility rate (the average number of children per woman) by nearly 75% in just two generations with a targeted, creative and ethical population programme, which helped it to grow economically.  

In the last ten years alone, fertility rates in Asia have dropped by nearly 10%.

Fertility Rates 1960-2022

1) Empowering women and girls

Where women and girls are empowered to choose what happens to their bodies and lives, fertility rates plummet. Empowerment means freedom to pursue education and a career, economic independence, easy access to sexual and reproductive healthcare, and ending horrific injustices like child marriage and gender-based violence. Overall, advancing the rights of women and girls is one of the most powerful solutions to our greatest environmental and social crises. Solutions 2 and 3 below are both tightly linked with female empowerment.

2) Removing barriers to contraception

Nearly half of all pregnancies are unintended. Currently, more than 200 million women who want to avoid pregnancy are not using modern contraception . There are a variety of reasons for this, including lack of access, concerns about side-effects and social pressure (often from male partners) not to use it.

These women mostly live in some of the world’s poorest countries, where population is set to rise by 3 billion by 2100. Overseas aid support for family planning is essential – both ensuring levels are high enough and that delivery of service is effective and goes hand-in-hand with advancing gender equality and engaging men.

Across the world, some people choose not to use contraception because they are influenced by assumptions, practices and pressures within their nations or communities. In some places, very large family sizes are considered desirable; in others, the use of contraception is discouraged or forbidden.

Work with women and men to change attitudes towards contraception and family size has formed a key part of successful family planning programmes. Religious barriers may also be overturned or sidelined. In Iran in the 1980s, a very successful family planning campaign was initiated when the country’s religious leader declared the use of contraception was consistent with Islamic belief. In Europe, some predominantly Catholic countries such as Portugal and Italy have some of the lowest fertility rates.

3) Quality education for all

Ensuring every child receives a quality education is one of the most effective levers for sustainable development. Many kids in developing countries are out of school, with girls affected more than boys due to gender inequality. Education opens doors and provides disadvantaged kids and young people with a “way out”. There is a direct correlation between the number of years a woman spends in education and how many children she ends up having. According to one study , African women with no education have, on average, 5.4 children; women who have completed secondary school have 2.7 and those who have a college education have 2.2. When family sizes are smaller, that also empowers women to gain education, take work and improve their economic opportunities.

A UN survey showed that the more educated respondents were, the more likely they were to believe that there is a climate emergency. This means that higher levels of education lead to the election of politicians with stronger environmental policy agendas.


4) Global justice and sustainable economies

The UN projects that population growth over the next century will be driven by the world’s very poorest countries.  Escaping poverty  is not just a fundamental human right but a vital way to bring birth rates down. The solutions above all help to decrease poverty. International aid, fair trade and global justice are all tools to help bring global population back to sustainable levels. A more equal distribution of resources and transitioning away from our damaging growth-dependent economic systems are key to a better future for people and planet.

5) improving child and maternal health

Where children do not survive into adulthood, people tend to have larger families. Reducing infant and child mortality has been key to bringing birth rates down across the world. Family planning and gender equality helps to achive that, through allowing women to start having children when they are older and increase spacing between children. As family size goes down, that also allows greater investment in health services, especially in low income countries.

Power to the People report cover

6) Exercising the choice

In high income countries, most of us have the power to choose the size of our families – although we may also face pressures of all kinds over the size of the families we choose to have. When making choices about that, it’s important to remember that people in the rich parts of the world have a disproportionate impact on the global environment through our high level of consumption and greenhouse gas emissions – in the UK, for instance, each individual produces 70 times more carbon dioxide emissions than someone from Niger. When we understand the implications for our environment and our children’s futures of a growing population, we can recognise that choosing smaller families is one positive choice we can make.

Gregory and daughter

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People power not state power – population policies that work 

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We take a look at some of the population policies around the world which gave people choices and improved their lives.

Women’s Rights

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The UN has projected that gender equality won’t be achieved until the next century. We must do more, faster.

Choosing a Small Family

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Having a smaller family helps to take pressure off the planet, ensuring a better life for everyone’s children. Hear from people who have made that choice.

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Tackling Population Pressure

Every day we add 227,000 more people to the planet — and the UN predicts human population will surpass 11 billion by the end of the century. As the world's population grows, so do its demands for water, land, trees and fossil fuels — all of which come at a steep price for already endangered plants and animals.

Reproductive health, rights and justice are threatened by the same systems of oppression that overexploit the environment and drive the extinction crisis. But through solutions like gender equity and a just transition to sustainable consumption and production, we can promote human rights; decrease poverty and overcrowding; raise standards of living; and allow people and nature to thrive.

The Center has been working to address the connection between human population pressure and the extinction crisis since 2009. Our innovative campaigns focus on commonsense solutions such as gender empowerment, the education of all people, universal access to all forms of sexual and reproductive healthcare, sustainable and equitable lifestyle choices, an economy that doesn’t rely on endless growth, and a societal commitment to improve living conditions for all species.  

Endangered Species Condoms

Endangered Species Condoms offer a fun, unique way to break through the taboo and get people talking about the link between human population growth and the wildlife extinction crisis.

The Extinction Crisis

Most biologists agree we're in the midst of the Earth's sixth mass extinction event; species are disappearing at the greatest rate since dinosaurs roamed the planet. This time, though, it isn't because of geologic or cosmic forces — it's because of our unsustainable growth and consumption.

Human Population Growth and Urban Sprawl

As our human footprint reaches farther and farther into remote areas in search of room to build cities, housing developments, golf courses and new farms, we're squeezing wildlife into ever smaller habitat refuges, often leaving endangered species with nowhere to go.

Climate Change

A  2009 study  of the relationship between population growth and global warming determined that the “carbon legacy” of just one child in the United States can produce 20 times more greenhouse gas than a person is able to conserve by taking other energy-saving actions.

Bringing Population Back Into the Conversation

Human population growth and consumption are at the root of our most pressing environmental crises, but they’re often left out of the conversation. We can fight to curb climate change, stop habitat loss, and clean up pollution, but if we don't also fight for reproductive justice for those most severely harmed by these environmental crises — including young people, immigrants, Black, Indigenous and people of color, minoritized ethnic and religious groups, LGBTQIA+ communities and rural communities — it'll remain an uphill battle we can't win. The first step to solving a problem is getting people to talk about it.

The Center is working to put the spotlight back on human population growth and the need to fight for reproductive and environmental justice. We're using creative media like our award-winning  Endangered Species Condoms  to start conversations on a person-to-person basis nationwide; we’re circulating videos  to explain the connections between population growth and other environmental problems and highlight the importance of healthcare for all. We're also bringing the message to museums, science centers and classrooms through fun and interactive Pillow Talk events, via virtual and in-person film series, and through social media campaigns.

Supporting Reproductive Justice

Everyone plays a role in human population growth, but when it comes to reproductive decisions, women and gender-diverse people are disproportionately affected by a lack of empowerment and access to healthcare, which not only affects their reproductive futures but also income and wealth equity, education, and leadership opportunities. Many people worldwide and in the United States are unable to get the sexual and reproductive healthcare they want or need. Unfortunately U.S. lawmakers and courts are currently doing everything they can to restrict reproductive freedom, including bans on comprehensive sex education and abortion.

Reproductive justice is environmental justice. In order to make sure we leave room for wildlife, it's critical that every pregnancy is planned and that people have the ability to decide when — or if — they want their family to grow. When people have access to voluntary contraception and equal education, they tend to choose to delay childbearing and have smaller families, leading to lower fertility rates. The Center supports unfettered access to education, reproductive healthcare and gender equity for all. Every person should have the tools, information and autonomy to make the best reproductive choice for themselves and the planet.

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A Brief on Overpopulation – Why it Matters and What You Can Do About It

Erin Brown | April 4, 2023 | Leave a Comment

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Photo by Candace McDaniel on StockSnap

As humanity has surpassed the 8 billion people milestone, it is more important now than ever to talk about population. What will we do if we continue to grow at exponential rates? What are ethical, viable strategies to decrease population?

“First off, let me get this straight, discussing addressing overpopulation does not mean discussing killing people. The goal is actually to prevent it.” – Dr. Jane O’Sullivan

Current world population in January 2023: 8 billion

The current rate of population growth is around 80 million people per year. There are over 8 billion people on the planet, the last billion added in less than the last 12 years. 

The Earth’s first billion people milestone took from the beginning of human history until the 1800s to be achieved. Then, due to the industrial revolution, humanity reached the second billion mark by 1930 (taking only 130 years), reached the third billion in 1960 (only took 30 years), then reached the fourth billion by 1974 (only took 14 years), and the fifth billion by 1987 (only took 13 years). We hit 6 billion in 1999 (which took 12 years) and hit 7 billion in 2011 (which took about 12 years). At the current growth rate, the world population will reach 9 billion by 2037 and 10 billion by 2057.

The growth rate is declining, but not at a fast enough rate to combat the exponential compound growth. The growth rate was 2% in the 1970s. Now it is 1.05%. Any growth rate above 1% means we are still adding more people to the planet every year. 

What is overpopulation? 

Overpopulation is a human population in numbers high enough to cause environmental deterioration, impaired quality of life, or population crash. 

Why is overpopulation an issue? 

Overrun natural resources can only lead to death by starvation, conflict, and disease, and the only viable alternative is voluntary restraint on human births.

What is carrying capacity?

Carrying capacity is defined as the maximum population of a species that an area will support without undergoing deterioration. 

Paul R. Ehrlich and other scientists estimate the world’s optimum population for carrying capacity (at a comfortable standard of living – editor’s note) to be less than two billion people – 6 billion fewer than on the planet today. “But the longer humanity pursues business as usual, the smaller the sustainable society is likely to prove to be. We’re continuously harvesting the low-hanging fruit, for example by driving fisheries stocks to extinction” – Paul Ehrlich says.

How do we revert population overshoot to a sustainable population level? 

Geologist Art Berman explains population overshoot this way: “Overshoot means that humans are using natural resources and polluting at rates beyond the planet’s capacity to recover. The main cause of overshoot is the extraordinary growth of the human population made possible by fossil energy. Concerns about overshoot and population raised more than 40 years ago were dismissed. Climate change has captured public awareness more recently although many doubt that it is an emergency. Overshoot is more difficult to dispute; it destroys rainforests, leads to the extinction of other species, the pollution of land, rivers, and seas, the acidification of the oceans, and the loss of fisheries and coral reefs. People understandably want to know the solutions. Overshoot is the problem we must address. Any plan that includes continued growth is doomed to fail.”

What can we do?  Jane O’Sullivan outlines the two options for addressing population overshoot – i ncrease the Earth’s carrying capacity or decrease population.

Increasing Earth’s carrying capacity

We are already doing this by (a) using fewer natural resources per person, or (b) increasing productivity by finding more ways to use resources. This only defers the problem and creates collateral damage. 

Decreasing population numbers

If we talk about this now, the hope is to increase our options for solutions. One of the biggest challenges to facing overpopulation head-on and discussing a decreasing population are the stigmas and myths associated with reducing human population numbers. An elaborate set of myths has emerged in opposition to reducing population levels. These myths may prevent even environmentalists from viewing overpopulation as an issue.  Jane O’Sullivan elucidates on the following six myths that make inaction a virtue.

Myth 1 – The human population is stabilizing, and birth rates are decreasing

Truth – Birth rates started declining in the 1970s-90s due to family planning, but not low enough. The number of mothers is still increasing faster than family planning is decreasing the birth rate .  We are still having more births per year than ever before. The total fertility rate has decreased, but as fertility decline has slowed to a trickle, the number of total births has continued to increase. 

Myth 2  – China is the only one with the problem and they used cruel methods (one-child policy)

Truth – Family planning programs have helped many countries successfully reduce births through voluntary means, including China, before the one-child policy.

Myth 3 – Poverty causes population growth, therefore development is the best contraceptive

I.e., family planning is unnecessary and inefficient as long as there is development.

Truth – If this was true, we would see the population decline as development increases. However, it is the decrease in fertility rates that drove economic development, not the other way around. This myth is therefore “correlation implying causation” in the wrong direction. The poorest countries could lower their population by family planning just as quickly as rich countries if they choose to prioritize it.

Countries of families with four or more children, on average, have the lowest level of development; in families with 3 children or fewer the level goes up by some degree, and with two or fewer children development soars. The current focus should be on expanding provisions for teachers, doctors, equality, etc. instead of just giving people what they need. 

Myth 4 – Educating girls is the key to ending population growth

Truth – Another indirect approach that excludes a discussion on the benefit of small families and ending population growth. Educating girls helps but not much unless it is also flanked by family planning efforts. Family planning has a stronger effect on women regulating their fertility, decreasing the fertility gap between the educated and uneducated, and with family planning, girls are more likely to stay in school.

Myth 5 – Population growth is good for the economy

Truth – This makes people poorer as shown under Myth #3. 

Myth 6 – Population growth in poor nations does not matter because of their “tiny carbon footprint”

Truth –  Population growth is a greater threat than climate change. The best way for anyone to decrease their carbon footprint is to have one less kid.

Therefore, family planning is the most economical way to a sustainable future.

What action can each of us take?

1. Discuss smaller family sizes with your partner, family, and friends – how do we aim for birth rates lower than two children per couple?

2. Share information about the environmental impacts of population growth with friends and family. Advocate for action to reduce and reverse population growth.

3. Reassess concerns about aging   – how can we shift away from worshipping eternal youth, to accepting and valuing the entire life cycle? 

4. Celebrate population decline – what are possible depopulation dividends? 

5. Support organizations and efforts that support family planning and women’s education.

Damien Carrington, an environmental editor at The Guardian, interviewed Prof. Paul Ehrlich about the solutions:

“The solutions are tough,” Ehrlich says. “To start, make modern contraception and backup abortion available to all and give women full equal rights, pay, and opportunities with men. Focus on overconsumption and equity issues. Specifically women’s rights and the explicit countering of racism.”

Ehrlich also says that an unprecedented redistribution of wealth is needed to end the over-consumption of resources, but “the rich who now run the global system – that hold the annual ‘world destroyer’ meetings in Davos – are unlikely to let it happen…Too many rich people in the world is a major threat to the human future, and cultural and genetic diversity are great human resources… It is a near certainty in the next few decades, and the risk is increasing continually as long as the perpetual growth of the human enterprise remains the goal of economic and political systems. As I’ve said many times, ‘perpetual growth is the creed of the cancer cell’.”

If cultural and genetic diversity are great human resources, how can the rich and the poor come together across the world to solve this issue?

Anne and Paul Ehrlich expand on their “vision for a cure” :

“Rich white people love to hold meetings to discuss the ‘population problem’ which always ends up focusing on the very real demographic difficulties of those with darker skin tones, especially people who live in Africa and Latin America. But isn’t it really time for the poor people of the world, especially those not in need of tanning beds, to extend a helping hand to the major villains of the destruction of humanity’s life-support systems? Could they not hold an educational conference in Washington, D.C. to explain why civilization is going down the drain, to the per-capita most environmentally destructive giant nation on the planet? Leaders from the “South” could both organize the event and supply experts to educate the wealthy and middle class on their ethical responsibilities and ways to meet them. We envision learning sessions on topics such as:

  • Avoiding the second child.
  • The population problem beyond numbers: inequality and waste of talent. 
  • Are borders ethical?
  • Population shrinkage for politicians.
  • GDP shrinkage for economists.
  • Do Trump and his colleagues prove that the lighter your skin, the lighter your brain?
  • Citizens United: It’s time for euthanasia for corporations.
  • Redistribution and survival.
  • Disbanding “Murder Incorporated”: gun manufacturers and big pharma.
  • How to end plastic production.
  • The historical contributions of the global South to the food enjoyed by the North.
  • How biodiversity loss is accompanied by the loss of human cultural diversity.
  • We know our populations are growing too fast; how to help us help ourselves?
  • Why anti-abortion laws kill poor women.

You can doubtless think of others. The possibilities are endless”.


Berman, Art. The Climate-Change Trip to Abilene. July 13, 2022.  https://mahb.stanford.edu/library-item/the-climate-change-trip-to-abilene/

Carrington, Damien. Interview with Paul Ehrlich: Collapse of civilization is a near certainty within decades. July 9, 2020.  https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/mar/22/collapse-civilisation-near-certain-decades-population-bomb-paul-ehrlich

Ehrlich, Anne H.; Ehrlich, Paul R. Overpopulation In America -And Its Cures. November 14, 2019.  https://mahb.stanford.edu/blog/overpopulation-america-cures/

O’Sullivan, Jane. The tenth presentation at the Delivering the Human Future Conference. Titled: The Future of the Human Population. March 21, 2021.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shUNJPLpXpQ

Population Statistics.  https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/

world population problem solving example che and nel camino

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The problem with ‘too many’

world population problem solving example che and nel camino

According to population alarmists, our world is overrun and close to bursting at the seams. Politicians, media pundits and even some academics have asserted that global challenges like economic instability, climate change and resource wars can be pinned on overpopulation – on too much demand and not enough supply.

They paint a picture of out-of-control, unstoppable birth rates, usually pointing the finger at poor and marginalized communities who have long been portrayed as reproducing recklessly and prolifically despite making the smallest contributions to issues such as environmental destruction.

This narrative oversimplifies complex issues and causes real harm.

It paints human survival as a problem, rather than an achievement.

It diverts attention away from those responsible for the real, urgent issues facing us and makes it harder to hold them to account.

It implies that women’s reproductive choices should be co-opted to solve the problem of ‘overpopulation’.


What are the facts?

>>:fact/1 life expectancy.

Global life expectancy reached 72.8 years in 2019 – an increase of nearly 9 years since 1990.

It is expected to reach 77.2 years by 2050.

>>This is something to be celebrated.


>>:FACT/2 Population Growth

Most of the projected increase in global population through 2050 will be driven by the momentum of past growth.

This means that further actions by governments aimed at reducing fertility will do little to slow the pace of growth between now and 2050.

Based on current projections

With efforts to control fertility and decrease population

Population growth


>>:FACT/3 Emissions

Half of all emissions come from the richest 10 per cent of the world’s population: Conflating a rise in emissions with population growth is therefore mistaken.

Perhaps the most alarming outcome of the “too many” narrative is that when we blame global issues on a growing population, we imply that some of us are worthier of life than others. That some of us deserve to survive and reproduce, while others do not.

History has shown that this thinking leads us down a dark path.

It also deters us from political action, leaving us to lament the ‘inevitability’ of catastrophic overpopulation and to abandon the optimism necessary for change.


Voices of ‘too many’

In a YouGov survey of almost 8,000 people across eight countries (Brazil, Egypt, France, Hungary, India, Japan, Nigeria and the United States) the most commonly held view was that the current world population was too large.

Respondents in Brazil, Egypt, India and Nigeria felt their domestic fertility rates were too high, even though Brazil and India have fertility rates below 2.1 births per woman – or what experts call the ‘replacement-level’ fertility rate.

Of the eight countries included in the survey, five (Brazil, France, Hungary, Japan and the United States) had more respondents worried about the size of the global population than about the size of their own country’s population.

Changing the narrative

Growing population threatens planet: Are we doomed?

Least responsible, most affected: How climate change harms the world's most vulnerable

National identity under threat by influx of migrants

Inclusive societies are key to developing demographic resilience

To stop climate change, have less children

To stop the climate crisis, corporations must urgently reduce emissions


We don’t have to buy into the narrative that women’s bodies and reproductive choices are the problem and solution to ‘overpopulation’.

Instead, we can insist that our individual choices are key, and take a sexual and reproductive justice approach to supporting all forms of human progress.

This means focusing on investments in education, health care, clean and affordable energy and working towards gender equality, rather than trying to reduce the number of people on our planet.

Explore further

8 Billion Strong

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  • Problems Based on Population

Overpopulation causes a lot of problems. Reasons of overpopulation are poverty, increased birth rate, immigration, child labor, fertility treatments, and better medical facilities reduce death rates, lack of resources, etc. The population is increasing rapidly all over the world and especially in India. At the increasing rate of 1.07% per year, the global world population is expected to be more than 8 Billion till 2030. The current average population is more than 80 million per year. Big families with more than 5 members are resulting in poverty in developing countries like India. Today in this article, we are going to cover some quantitative aptitude questions related to the population problem.

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Population problem.

Population problem is an ever-growing phenomenon. Every year you see an increase in it. This increase is calculated by using percentage. The population problem is an ever-growing phenomenon. Every year you see an increase in it. This increase is calculated by using percentage. There are many tricks and methods to calculate the changes being done in it. We will try and cover every different type of question-based on it. We will also provide some questions for you to practice at the end.

Population problem

Example Based on Population

Q. The population of New Foundland increases at a uniform rate of 8 % per year, but due to people flying from different countries there is a further increase in it by 1 %. This 1 %, is the increase in population which is to be calculated on it after the 8 % increase and not on the previous year’s population. Find what the amount of percentage increase of population after 2 years.

A. 19.76 B. 17.91 C. 18.081 D. 18.24

Answer: Here, you need to find an increase in the percentage of the population after two years. But there is a condition given where a 1 % increase is only when there was an 8 % increase and not before that. Thus 1 % increase will only be calculated after there is an increase of 8%. This means that for 2 years, we will only calculate this increase two times.

For the first years let’s suppose that the population before was 100. Now, with the increase of 8%, the new population after one year will 108. Now, there is a one percent increase in this population. So, 1% of 108 is 1.08. So, new population will be 108 + 1.08 = 109.8. The important thing here to note is that you have to take 8% and 1% separately. You cannot take a 9% increase in the population. Because then the new population after one year would have been 109 instead of 109.8.

Now, for the second year, there is again an increase of  8% in the population. So, the population after two years will be 8% of 109.8 which will be 8.78 => 109.8 + 8.78 = 118.58. Increasing 118.58 by 1% we get new population as 119.76 which is our required answer. So, the increase in population after two will be 19.76 %.

Example Based on Voters

Q. It was decided that 800 people will vote in the elections. But out of 800, 1/3 of the people were sick. The people in the opposition party managed to increase their strength somehow by 100 %. The resolution was rejected by the majority. This majority was 50 % of that by which it would have been passed if none of these changes would have occurred. How many people in Vadodara finally voted for the resolution and against the resolution?

A. 150 (for), 300 (against) B. 200 (for), 400 (against) C. 200 (for), 300 (against) D. 100 (for), 200 (against)

Answer: This type of questions will easier to solve if you do it through options. We will go through the options one by one and see what is the correct answer. In the first option, there 150 for and 300 against. So 350 people are remaining. This 350 have rejected the resolution. But this is not possible because 1/3 of the people were sick. And 1/3 of 500 is 160+. But here it is mentioned that 150 people voted for. So option A is not the correct answer.

For option B, 200 people voted for and 400 voted against. So 200 people rejected the resolution. So if none of this thing would have happened than the resolution would have been passed by 400 people which are 600 for and 200 against. 1/3 people were sick. So, 200 were sick and opponents doubled their vote from 200 to 400. So, option B is the correct answer.

Practice Questions

Q. Of the total number of people in Vadodara, 25 % of men and 45 % of women are married. What is the total percentage of the population of adults is married? (Assume that no women marry more than one man and vice versa).

A. 31.1 % B. 32.3 % C. 32.14 % D. 33.33 %

The correct answer is C.

Q. The population in Ahmedabad was 3000. It was increased by 4 % in the first year and then it was decreased by 3 % in the next year. What was the total population at the end of two years?

A. 3208 B. 3028 C. 2028 D. 3026

The correct answer is D.

Q. Every year the population in India grows at the rate of 20 %. If the population in 2010 was 50000 then what will be the population of India in 2013?

A. 88000 B. 86000 C. 86200 D. 86400

Q. The population of Denver in 2015 was 160000. After one year there was a decrease in population of 6 %. After that, there was an increase in population by 8 %. What was the population of Denver in 2017?

A. 162422 B. 162432 C. 163422 D. 165432

The correct answer is B.

Q. In a town 30 % were children, while 45 % were men. 25000 people in the town were women. What is the total number of men and children in the town?

A. 65000 B. 75000 C. 85000 D. 90000

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Total wrong teaching and examples are wrong change the mistakes of every example, I found this change in percentage = 4/40 x 100 = 20%.

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Countries in the world by population (2024)

This list includes both countries and dependent territories . Data based on the latest United Nations Population Division estimates. Click on the name of the country or dependency for current estimates (live population clock), historical data, and projected figures. See also: World Population

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World Population by Country 2024 (Live)

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The US Census Bureau's world population clock estimated that the global population as of September 2022 was 7,922,312,800 people and was expected to reach 8 billion by mid-November of 2022. This total far exceeds the 2015 world population of 7.2 billion . The world's population continues to increase by roughly 140 people per minute , with births outweighing deaths in most countries.

Overall, however, the rate of population growth has been slowing for several decades. This slowdown is expected to continue until the rate of population growth reaches zero (an equal number of births and deaths) around 2080-2100, at a population of approximately 10.4 billion people . After this time, the population growth rate is expected to turn negative, resulting in global population decline.

Countries with more than 1 billion people

China is currently the most populous country in the world, with a population estimated at more than 1.42 billion as of September 2022. Only one other country in the world boasts a population of more than 1 billion people: India , whose population is estimated to be 1.41 billion people—and rising.

While India's population is projected to continue to grow until at least the year 2050, China's population is currently contracting slightly. This contraction, coupled with India's continued growth, is expected to result in India replacing China as the most populous country in the world by the year 2030.

Countries with more than 100 million people

Another 12 countries each have populations that exceeded 100 million people as of September 2022:

While Russia and Japan will see their populations decline significantly by 2050, the rest of these nations are expected to continue growing until at least 2050. Additionally, two additional countries, DR Congo and Vietnam , have more than 99 million people and should soon reach the 100 million mark.

Countries with fewer than 100 million people

As shown in the live-updating population table below, the overwhelming majority of the world's countries have fewer than 100 million people—substantially fewer, in some cases. The smallest country in the world in terms of both population and total area is Vatican City , where barely 500 people reside.

Rates of population growth around the world

The world's population continues to increase, with approximately 140 million babies born every year. According to the United Nations' 2022 World Population Prospects report, the global population is projected to reach 8.5 billion people by the year 2030, 9.7 billion people by 2050, and 10.4 billion people by 2080, where it will remain until 2100.

While the world's total population is expected to continue to rise until roughly 2100, the rate at which the population is rising has been slowly decreasing for decades. In 2020, the global population growth rate fell below one percent for the first time since 1950. This decrease continues a trend begun in the 1970s, in which the population growth rate shows a consistent decrease when measured in five-year increments.

The rate of population growth varies greatly from one country or region to another. More than half of the world's expected population growth between now and 2050 is expected to come from just eight countries: DR Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Tanzania . Particularly of interest is India, which is on track to overtake China's position as the most populous country by the year 2030. Additionally, multiple nations within Africa are expected to double their populations in the coming decades as fertility rates and birth rates rise thanks in part to advancements in medical care and decreased infant mortality and malnutrition .

Life expectancy and its impact on world population

Global life expectancy has also improved in recent years, rising to 72.8 years in 2019—almost 9 years longer than in 1990. Global life expectancy is projected to continue to increase, reaching 77.2 years by the year 2050. Significant factors impacting the data on life expectancy include expectations regarding mankind's ability to reduce the impact of AIDS/HIV and other infectious and non-communicable diseases.

As a result of the increase in global life expectancy, the majority of the world's countries are undergoing considerable growth in the number of residents over the age of 65. The percentage of over-65 residents in the world's population is projected to rise from 10% in 2022 to 16% in 2050. This total will be roughly twice the number of children under age 5 and equal to the number of children under age 12. This imbalance can put considerable strain on a country's economy and infrastructure, as it can lead to a shortage of working-age individuals entering the workforce to take the place of those who are retiring.

Life expectancy has a significant impact on the ability of the population to maintain what is called a replacement rate, in which the country's death rate is balanced or exceeded by its birth rate. In countries whose birth rates are either deliberately low or unintentionally so, the death rate may be higher, resulting in overall population decline . Although population decline can be desirable in certain circumstances, it can also create economic challenges and is more often viewed as undesired.

Challenges inherent in population estimates

Although population projections such as the US Census Bureau's World Population Clock utilize the most accurate and up-to-date data available, they are nonetheless still estimates. Unforeseen events such as the COVID-19 pandemic or Russia's 2022 invasion of Ukraine can have a powerful, but impossible-to-anticipate impact on population trends.

Even in the absence of such disruptions, the process of tracking the exact number of births and deaths in every country and territory in the world in real time—and maintaining a precise tally of the number of people alive on the Earth at any given moment—is logistically infeasible. Instead, modern population scientists use sophisticated mathematical models to create detailed estimates and projections, which the world's countries can use to plan for future generations.

World Population History

World population projections, world population in 2050.

How will the world's population change over the next eighty years? According to the United Nations' World Population Prospects 2022 report, the global population in 2050 is expected to reach around 9.7 billion people, nearly 2 billion more than the current population today. Current projections anticipate that this growth will continue until it reaches 10.4 million people sometime in the 2080s, at which time the population will hold steady until roughly 2100, then begin to decline.

In terms of population growth in individual countries, India is projected to surpass China as the most populated country in the world sometime during 2023, at which time China's annual growth rate will be between -0.1% and -0.3%, while India's growth rate will be between 0.69% and 0.92%. Given current trends in growth rates, UN projections predict that China's population will slide to 1.2 billion people by 2060, while India's will expand to almost 1.7 billion.

The United States is currently the third most populated country in the world, but is expected to drop to fourth most populated sometime in the early 2040s. Instead, the African country of Nigeria , whose 2022 growth rate is 2.39% (compared to 0.47% in the US) will become the third most populated country in the world. While UN predictions vary from those of the US Census Bureau, Nigeria takes the lead in both projections. Nigeria’s population is expected to reach 377-410 million by 2050, while the US will have approximately 375-390 million people.

Vatican City / Holy See is expected to continue as the country with the smallest population in the world for the next several decades. In 2022, the famous Catholic city-state had a population of 510 people as well as a negative population growth rate. However, if global warming and the concurrent sea level rise continue unabated, certain Pacific Island nations such as Kiribati , the Maldives , and Vanuatu may be flooded under the rising oceans, which would force their populations to migrate and reduce their populations to zero.

Population growth from now to the year 2100

The Earth's population is expected to continue growing for the next 60-80 years. Improvements in health care technology, shared by developed countries with still developing and least-developed countries, have increased life expectancy and reduced infant mortality rates—which, in turn, have helped drive a boom in population growth. In fact, ten countries are expected to gain more in population by 2050 than the rest of the world combined.

Top 10 Countries Whose Populations Will Grow the Most by 2050:

The rise, peak, and decline of population growth.

Although the world's population is currently increasing, trends indicate that the rate of growth in many countries, especially developed countries and those with high populations, is slowing down. By the end of this century, even the world's fastest-growing countries are expected to have reached peak population size and begun to display declining (or negative) growth rates.

Many factors contribute to population decline and related metrics such as fertility rates. These include increased access to birth control and family planning, an increase in overall quality of life and the human development index , and various other cultural, political, social, and economic factors These include some factors that may not initially seem related to birth rate, such as the population's general level of education and the government's per-capita health expenditure .

Whether population growth is good or bad depends heavily upon several factors, most notably the rate of growth, the country in which it is taking place, and that country's level of development. Countries that have mature economies and well-developed infrastructure are more likely to be able to absorb an increase in population. Conversely, developing countries are more likely to lack adequate jobs, health care, or other infrastructure to support a larger population.

Similarly, a gentle increase in population is typically considered healthy, but a high rate of growth can be undesirable. High growth can often overwhelm a country's infrastructure, strain systems ranging from the job market to the food supply, and constrain available resources. When this happens, technological advances may offer opportunities to overcome production shortages and/or environmental damage.

World Population By Race

As of late 2022, the world's population was approximately 8 billion people. However, breaking down the global population by race is difficult—primarily because of the evolving meaning of the word "race."

Why the classic concept of race is fundamentally flawed

The modern understanding is that race is an outdated social construct based on certain biological features that society has deemed to be significant. For example, most racial groupings are determined by physical differences such as skin tone or hair color. However, these variations are largely dictated by geography rather than genetics. Put simply, race is an illusion.

To clarify, it is true that isolated populations tend to display certain defining characteristics, such as the dark skin color of Africans or the blonde hair of many Northern Europeans. But these traits are all interchangeable and compatible and do not in any way introduce genetic boundaries between one supposed race and another.

This fact is clearly evidenced in the modern global population. Thanks in large part to advances in transportation and international mobility over the past century, more and more people of various "races" have spread around the world, intermarried, and started families—and their children display a breathtaking array of mixed-race appearances, obfuscating any supposed boundaries between one race and another.

These emerging demographics have made it increasingly obvious to the world's geneticists, anthropologists, and sociologists that clear-cut races do not exist. The mapping of the entire human genome in recent years has solidified and confirmed this view.

Race, ethnicity, and the challenge of tracking global diversity

It is important not to confuse race with ethnicity, which stems from one's society and culture and which does in fact exist. The main difference between race and ethnicity is that race is based on genetic traits and physical appearance, while ethnicity is based upon customs, language, and practices that are learned and passed down from generation to generation.

While the difference between race and ethnicity may be widely understood and accepted in many countries, not every country views the topics through the same lens. Different countries divide race and ethnicity into different possible elements (such as the number of possible ethnicities), and each country has its own system for measuring, classifying, and tracking diversity, whether it be via variations in race, ethnicity, or both.

For instance, the United States still uses the term "race", but treats it as a social identity rather than a biological or anthropological classification. Citizens voluntarily self-identify as White, Black or African American, American Indian, Asian, or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. Meanwhile, other countries may offer a different range of possible races, or may instead measure ethnicity or country of origin, such as English, German, East Indian, etc.

These incongruent approaches make it difficult to compare data between countries, and confound even the most ambitious attempts to create a universal set of constituent categories capable of containing the entirety of human diversity.

World Population (1950 - 2100)

Other minor territories and dependencies, other limited data countries, world population history (5000 b.c. - 2020 a.d.).

Throughout most of history, the world's population has been much smaller than it is now. Before the invention of agriculture, for example, the human population was estimated to be around 15 million people at most. For comparison, the world population in 2017 (~7 billion) was roughly equal to a full 6% of the estimated 110 billion people who have ever lived.

The introduction of agriculture and the gradual movement of humanity into settled communities enabled the global population to increase gradually to around 300 million by AD 0. While this is a substantial increase, it remains a tiny fraction of the current population. For example, the Roman Empire, which historians regard as one of the strongest empires the world has ever known, probably contained around 50 million people at its height—nearly 20 million less than the population of the UK today.

The world population would not reach its first major milestone—one billion people—until the early 19th century. Then, as the industrial revolution took hold and living standards improved, the rate of population growth increased considerably. Over the next hundred years, the population of the world doubled, reaching two billion in the late 1920s.

During the 20th century, however, population growth skyrocketed. Over the past 100 years, the planet's population has more than tripled in size. This massive increase in human population is largely due to improvements in diet, sanitation, and medicine, especially compulsory vaccination against many diseases, which have both improved life expectancy and decreased infant mortality rates all over the world.

A Timeline of World Population Growth Milestones (People):

  • Year 0001: 200 million
  • Year 1000: 275 million
  • Year 1500: 450 million
  • Year 1650: 500 million
  • Year 1750: 700 million
  • Year 1804: 1.0 billion
  • Year 1850: 1.2 billion
  • Year 1900: 1.6 billion
  • Year 1927: 2.0 billion
  • Year 1950: 2.55 billion
  • Year 1955: 2.8 billion
  • Year 1960: 3.0 billion
  • Year 1970: 3.7 billion
  • Year 1985: 4.85 billion
  • Year 1999: 6.0 billion
  • Year 2011: 7.0 billion
  • Year 2023: 8.0 billion (projected)

Population growth in the future

While past population trends are fairly well known (only the specific dates of certain milestones are occasionally disputed), future trends are less clear. Most population experts agree that population increases will continue, albeit at an ever-decreasing rate, until the Earth's population reaches its ceiling, pauses, and begins to contract. However, the particulars of that process, such as the rate of increase, when and at what number the population will plateau, and the rate of decrease that will follow, are still the subject of much debate.

Most population experts tag steadily improving global standards of living as the cause of decreasing rates of population increase. As wealth and quality of life increase, the average family size will shrink and population growth will steadily slow and eventually stop.

However, other experts maintain that poverty, inequality and continued urbanization will have the opposite effect and cause a growth increase, particularly in countries in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia , where population growth is already much higher than the global average.

Still others predict a population decrease stemming from much bleaker causes. These experts speculate that the current world population is unsustainable in the long term and that humanity will reach a point at which we simply cannot produce enough food or utilize our natural resources efficiently enough to feed such a large population or sustain the global economy at its current scale.

World Population History Chart

2022 projections by the United Nations estimate that the global population could swell to 8.5 billion by 2030, 9.7 billion by 2050, and 10.4 billion by 2080. At that point, the population is expected to plateau before beginning to decline around the year 2100. Current population growth is driven in large part by advances in medicine, which are increasing life expectancy ; and improved health care in developing and least-developed countries, which is decreasing infant mortality .

The rate of population growth is not equal in every country. According to the United Nations' 2022 World Population Prospects report, many of the world's 46 least-developed countries are expected to double in population from 2022 to 2050, placing them among the world's fastest-growing countries. Conversely, 61 of the world's countries are expected to decrease in population by at least 1% between 2022 and 2050. The largest contractions are expected to occur in Eastern Europe , while the largest growth will come from the countries of sub-Saharan Africa .

Although the population of the world currently grows daily, the overall rate of that growth has been slowing for decades. The rate of population growth peaked in 1970 at 2.06% growth per year, but had dropped to 1.78% by 1980. Rates remained relatively flat throughout the '80s, with a minimal rise to 1.80% by 1990. From there, however, the rate of population growth began to drop precipitously, falling to 1.37% in 2000, 1.27% in 2010, and 0.87% in 2020—the first time since 1950 that the growth rate had fallen below 1%. The United Nations predicts the global population growth rate will continue to decrease over the next several decades, until it dips into negative population growth around the year 2100.

World Population Growth Chart

  • World Population Prospects (2022 Revision) - United Nations population estimates and projections.
  • Historical Estimates of World Population


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    Population issues and population policies have evolved considerably between the 20th and the 21st centuries. In the 1970s, most countries confronted rapid population growth, and this situation was particularly severe in Asia. Today, on the contrary, more than half of the world population is experiencing low fertility and population aging, and several countries with very low fertility are ...

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    Tackling Population Pressure. Every day we add 227,000 more people to the planet — and the UN predicts human population will surpass 11 billion by the end of the century. As the world's population grows, so do its demands for water, land, trees and fossil fuels — all of which come at a steep price for already endangered plants and animals.

  17. World Population Clock: 8.1 Billion People (LIVE, 2024)

    2024. 0.91. Population in the world is growing at a rate of around 0.91% per year in 2024 (up from 0.88% in 2023, and down from 0.98% in 2020, and 1.06% in 2019). The current population increase is estimated at around 73 million people per year. Annual growth rate reached its peak in the late 1960s, when it was at around 2%.

  18. Why it Matters and What You Can Do About It

    At the current growth rate, the world population will reach 9 billion by 2037 and 10 billion by 2057. The growth rate is declining, but not at a fast enough rate to combat the exponential compound growth. The growth rate was 2% in the 1970s. Now it is 1.05%. Any growth rate above 1% means we are still adding more people to the planet every year.

  19. The problem with 'too many'

    The problem. with 'too many'. According to population alarmists, our world is overrun and close to bursting at the seams. Politicians, media pundits and even some academics have asserted that global challenges like economic instability, climate change and resource wars can be pinned on overpopulation - on too much demand and not enough ...

  20. Population Problem: Causes, Solved Examples, Videos

    Now, for the second year, there is again an increase of 8% in the population. So, the population after two years will be 8% of 109.8 which will be 8.78 => 109.8 + 8.78 = 118.58. Increasing 118.58 by 1% we get new population as 119.76 which is our required answer. So, the increase in population after two will be 19.76 %. Example Based on Voters. Q.


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  22. Population by Country (2024)

    Countries in the world by population (2024) This list includes both countries and dependent territories. Data based on the latest United Nations Population Division estimates. Click on the name of the country or dependency for current estimates (live population clock), historical data, and projected figures. Fert.

  23. World Population by Country 2024 (Live)

    The US Census Bureau's world population clock estimated that the global population as of September 2022 was 7,922,312,800 people and was expected to reach 8 billion by mid-November of 2022. This total far exceeds the 2015 world population of 7.2 billion.The world's population continues to increase by roughly 140 people per minute, with births outweighing deaths in most countries.