[URBANTH-L]NEWS: World Population Heading Rapidly Toward 7 Billion
acjancius at ysu.edu
Wed Aug 31 15:20:56 EDT 2005
WORLD POPULATION HEADING RAPIDLY TOWARD 7 BILLION
Group Ensures Global Population Growth
- By HARRY DUNPHY, Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
(08-23) 12:49 PDT WASHINGTON, (AP) --
Global population growth is ensured for many decades, with most of it in
developing countries, a private group said Tuesday.
The rapid growth in developing countries, combined with declining birth
rates in some industrialized nations could affect the ability of the wealthy
to aid the poor, said a demographer who prepared the group's report.
"The countries of today's developing world are growing almost three times
faster than the developed countries," said Carl Haub, a demographer for the
Population Reference Bureau, a private research group. "The global
population growth today has concentrated in the poorest countries and the
poorest areas of those countries.
"Almost 99 percent of population growth today and for the foreseeable future
will be in those developing countries," he said. "There has been a complete
shift in population growth."
The bureau's study found that in many industrialized countries and in some
developing countries such as China and Thailand, average fertility is below
the two-child average.
"Because these low fertility levels lead to population decline sooner or
later, some reports have sounded alarm about the possibility of a worldwide
'birth dearth,'" the report said.
However, the majority of the world's countries have a fertility rate above
the two child level, the study said, and have large numbers of women of
reproductive age due to high fertility in the past.
Haub said the decline in the birth rate in some industrialized countries
could put them "in less of a position to help developing countries. These
are countries that traditionally have been quite generous in terms of
The report said the complex and unpredictable nature of fertility rates have
dramatic effects on population size, making the issue the subject of much
debate because national and international health, economic and other
policies and programs may be based on population size.
In a recent analysis of survey data between 1990 and 2003 in developing
countries, demographer John Bongaarts of the Population Council, an
international nonprofit research organization, found that some nations had
not yet experienced fertility decline while others had "stalled" in their
transition from high fertility rates to low fertility rates, the report
The study said use of modern contraceptives is more common among wealthy
women than poor women in nearly all countries and the gap is particularly
pronounced in the poorest countries, in places as diverse as Uganda and
World population growth will continue, the study said, reaching 6.5 billion
in 2005 and going to 7 billion in about seven years. Of that growth, 99
percent will be in developing countries.
The United States is projected to remain the third most populous nation
behind India and China through 2050, with population increasing from 296
million to 420 million, the report said. While China has the world's largest
population in 2005 at 1.3 billion, India, now No. 2, will overtake China by
2050 with 1.6 billion.
Other highlights of the study:
_Africa's infant mortality rate is nearly 15 times that of the more
_The more developed world uses more than five times the energy per capita
than the less developed world.
_People in North America use more than eight times as much energy as people
in Latin America.
_Nearly one-third of rural residents worldwide lack access to safe drinking
Associated Press Writer Will Lester contributed to this story.
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