The population of the globe will probably reach eleven billion people at the end of the century, two billion more than previously expected, according to a new projection by the United Nations, showing continued population growth mainly in Africa.
“The consensus over the past 20 years or so was that world population, which is currently around 7 billion, would go up to 9 billion and level off or probably decline,” said Adrian Raftery, professor of statistics and sociology at the University of Washington in Seattle.
He is one of the main co-authors of the study published Thursday in the online version of the journal Science. “We found that there was 70% probability that the world population will not stabilize in this century,” he said, indicating in his opinion that “demographic change remains a very important issue.”
Population growth can exacerbate other global problems such as climate change, the spread of infectious diseases and poverty, he explained.
Much of the expected population growth will come from Africa, where the population is expected to quadruple, to go from a billion currently to about four billion by the end of this century.
Asia, with 4.4 billion people today, will see its population level off at around five billion by 2050 before beginning to decline.
In North America, Europe and Latin America (including the Caribbean), the population is expected to remain under 1 billion.
In Europe France should become the most populated country in 2100 country with 79 million inhabitants, against 66 million today. Germany will see its population shrink sharply from 80 million today to 56 million.