06 May 2011

10 Billion People by 2100

The global population will hit 7 billion to celebrate Halloween, but the growth projections for the century paint a remarkable picture.  By 2100, it is predicted that 10 billion people will be on the planet and the present population distributions will be vastly different.

The Economist shares what this looks like in the picture to the left where you can see the rapid growth of Nigeria in comparison to the estimated decline in population that India and China will see starting in 2050.  

What is remarkable is the fact that India will see sharp growth over the next 40 years and then an immediate decline.  I do not know all that goes into a nation's income classification, but wonder if it is possible that the 'middle income' designation will be called into question if the growth rate continues at the projected pace and poverty levels either grow or stagnate.  I am not at all sure what poverty will look like in India by 2050 (hopefully the comments can clear that up), but am wondering aloud.

Conversely, what will the drop below one billion mean for China?  It has build capacity for cities to address present demands which will eventually decline.  What will this mean for the economy?  Will less live in the countryside?  Will productivity decline?  Will the GDP contract or slow down in growth?  I am curious to find out more answers in regards to these questions.  

If you know an answer, have a resource or even an opinion, feel free to jump in and use the comments section.

The Economist adds this caveat:
Such forecasts need to be taken with a bucketload of salt: tiny shifts in today’s birth rate extrapolated over 90 years produce huge changes. But the general picture is probably right. Sub-Saharan Africa’s current population, at 856m, is little more than Europe’s and a fifth of Asia’s. By 2050 it could be almost three times Europe’s and by 2100 might even be three-quarters of the size of Asia. By any measure, Africa is by far the fastest-growing continent.