More Humans on the Way

BBC ImageBBC Humanity —
The world’s population is expected to rise from the current 6.5 billion
to 9.1 billion by 2050, the UN says. Virtually all the growth will be
in the developing world, according to a report by the UN Population
Division. By contrast, the population of developed countries will
remain almost static at 1.2 billion, the report adds. It says India
will overtake China as the world’s most populous country by 2030 – five
years earlier than previously expected. The figures in the revised
report are based on national censuses, population surveys and review of
trends. In 2002, the UN Population Division had estimated a population
in 2050 of 8.9 billion. The new report predicts that the population in
the world’s 50 poorest countries will more than double by 2050. It says
that nations such as Afghanistan, Chad and East Timor will see their
numbers going up three-fold. “They are the ones not being able to
provide adequate shelter, adequate food for all their people,” Haina
Zlotnik, the UN Population Division’s chief, told a news conference in
New York. “If fertility dropped downwards, they would be buying time to
face the problems they are facing,” Ms Zlotnik said. The report also
says that Africa – unlike other regions – has seen average life
expectancy at birth decline from 62 years in 1995 to 48 years in
2000-2005. It attributes the sharp fall to the continuing spread of
HIV/Aids and other infectious diseases, as well as armed conflicts and
economic stagnation. However, the overall trend shows a lower rate of
growth in the past 20 to 50 years. (02/25/05)