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UN: Population of Least-Developed Parts of World Will Soar

2016-05-22

The United Nations has a very convenient set of graphs showing its predictions for the population of the world and all its regions through the year 2100 (approximately the next 80 years): the web site is here.  The current population of this section of the world, as of, say, 2020, is a little over a billion on the graph.  By the year 2100, the center of the projection is for about 3.25 billion people, an increase of triple.  So in the next eighty years, the population of the least-developed part of the world will triple, more or less.

The low end of the projection (a 95% probability) is for a little over 2.5 billion;  the high end is 4 billion.

At the same time, the population of the world as a whole will not increase nearly as much: from a current population approaching eight billion, the whole world will probably only reach eleven billion.  The uncertainties are significant, however, from less than ten billion to more than thirteen billion, at a 95% probability.  The reason the population of the world doesn’t increase that much is that the highly developed parts of the world will stop growing entirely.  The current population of the most developed part of the world is currently about 1.25 billion and will never reach 1.3 billion, even by 2100.

The UN has isolated a group of countries that will not grow at all in the next eighty years, and another group that will triple in population in the same time.  These countries differ by level of development in terms of dollars: the highest gross domestic product per person results in the lowest birthrate.  Development reduces birthrate partly by increasing opportunity for contraception but also by improving a sense of security which reduces the perception of a need for a large family.  Improved security in old age reduces the need for offspring to care for the aged.  The bottom line is development, meaning technology and money.  Spreading the wealth requires stimulating trade and industry as well as infrastructure development.  All these things require a competent, wealthy government.

The United States would be in a good position to stimulate development in the rest of the world if it had an activist government that worked at projects overseas.  By the same token, stimulation of other economies will result in positive feedback to our country and increase our GDP.

 

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