6.5 Billion People

The latest UN World Demographic Trends report is out; current population is midway between the 6 billion reached in 1999 and the 7 billion expected in 2012.  

That 13-year gap to add 1 billion people is actually longer than the 12 years (from 1987 to 1999) to add the last billion. World population growth is slowing, and current projections see population at only 8.9 billion by 2050 (i.e. less than 2 more billion added over the following 38 years) and stabilizing at about 9 billion for the longer term. Over 400 million of those will be in the US as the world's third most populous nation; India is expected to have about 1.5 billion by then.

The urban area of Tokyo is by far the world's most populous, with 35 million people in 2005. About half the world's population lives in urban areas, a proportion likely to increase slightly, but most live in small cities under 500,000 rather than large agglomerations.

Mortality from HIV/AIDS has been reversing the trend toward longer life expectancies in some areas. Otherwise, for the most part reductions in child birth rates are leading to aging populations in both developing and developed nations.

Population is one of the key elements in estimation of future energy demand; the 37% population growth estimated between now and 2050, even while moderate on the scale of the 20th century, illuminates the level of energy demand growth we may reasonably expect.

Thanks to WorldChanging for referencing the report.

Created: 2005-02-22 03:06:38 by Arthur Smith
Modified: 2005-02-22 03:07:22 by Arthur Smith