herald

Monday 23 October 2017

Population of Earth forecast to hit 12 billion

Humanity is continuing to grow and the Earth's population could hit 12 billion by 2100, according to a new prediction by experts.

The rising population could worsen world problems such as climate change, disease and poverty, scientists warn.

Previous estimates have suggested that after peaking at around nine billion by the end of the century, the global population would level off or even decline.

US statistician Prof Adrian Raftery, from the University of Washington, said: "We found there's a 70pc probability the world population will not stabilise this century.

Currently, the size of the Earth's population is 7.2 billion.

Prof Raftery's team analysed the latest United Nations data affecting fertility, life-expectancy and migration.

The projection, published in the journal Science, shows an 80pc likelihood that the global population will increase to between 9.6 and 12.3 billion by 2100.

Quadruple

Most of the growth is expected to take place in Africa, where the population is expected to quadruple from around one billion today to four billion by the end of the century.

Asia's population, now at 4.4 billion, is predicted to peak at around five billion in 2050 and then begin to decline.

North American, European, Latin American, and Caribbean populations are likely to stay below one billion in each region.

hnews@herald.ie

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