Graphic from the New York Times
Yesterday the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Social and Economic Affairs released its newest projections. There was a small upward revision of the projected population in 2050 (to 9.3 billion), but the headline news is that the U.N. now projects that population growth will continue to the end of this century, reaching 10.1 billion.
Just like the IPCC, however, the U.N. Population Division considers different scenarios. The high projection variant, which assumes fertility is only half a child greater than in the medium variant just quoted would result in a world population of 10.6 billion in 2050 and 15.8 billion in 2100.
High fertility countries are found mostly in Africa, which is also where the most alarming projections of future population sizes are concentrated,1 but there are 9 in Asia, 6 in Oceania, and 4 in Latin America. Interestingly, China's population is projected to peak in a couple of decades and decline to less then a billion by the end of the century.
There were only about 3 billion people in the world when I was born. We've already added one world to the one I was born in. What will it be like when we add another?
1The figure that caught my eye from the Times article is that Nigeria could have a population of 730 million by 2100.