WEDNESDAY, 10 APRIL 2013

Population will stabilise by 2050 According to Physics

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The following report is very interesting and news-worthy but not making the news anywhere, of course. According to RedOrbit, a research team at the Autonomous University of Madrid has predicted that the population of our planet will stabilize around 2050.  This was based upon global population data from 1900 to 2010 and a model “normally used by physicists”. (This sounds scientific and therefore, as we all know, it must be true). RedOrbit continues:

"[The researches team’s] results, published in the journal Simulation, coincide with the United Nation’s (UN) downward forecasts. The UN estimates that the global population in 2100 will be somewhere between the highest estimate of 15.8 billion (high fertility variant) and the lowest estimate of 6.2 billion (low fertility variant). The low estimate is below the current population of 7 billion. The team of researchers from UAM and the CEU-San Pablo University developed a mathematical model that confirms the lower estimate. Additionally, their model predicts a standstill and even a slight drop in global population by the mid-21st century. The UN provided population prospects between 1950 and 2100. The team combined these with mathematical equations used in fields such as condensed matter physics to create their model.”

The team noted how originally the data showed the Earth’s birth rate and mortality rate to be high (early twentieth century) and then after 1950, the mortality rate fell sharply “as a result of advances in healthcare and increased life expectancy”. Then, it seemed as if the world would be doomed by an never-ending increasing population (*cough* Paul Ehrlich *cough*)  but instead, there was a steep drop off in the number of children being born worldwide.  As the research team’s findings show:

“The model’s data also reflects the downward trend in the UN’s series of prospects. ‘Overpopulation was a spectre in the 1960s and 70s but historically the UN’s low fertility variant forecasts have been fulfilled,’ Muñoz highlighted. Earlier predictions, as recently as 1992, predicted a global population of 7.17 billion people by 2010. The actual population in 2010 was 6.8 billion. There has been a 40 percent decline in the fertility rate since 1950. ‘This work is another aspect to be taken into consideration in the debate, although we do not deal with the significant economic, demographic and political consequences that the stabilization and ageing of the world population could entail,’ the researcher concluded.”

This is a scientific model that has huge implications for the future of the world and our societies. Why aren’t we hearing more about it? Why aren’t there numerous UN panels set up to tell us about the impending problem and what we must do about it? Is it because the researchers left out the vitally important point: a hockey stick curve pointing ominously upwards? You can hear the researchers now: “Bother, I knew we forgot something!”


MORE ON THESE TOPICS | birth rates, mortality rate, population growth

 
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Welcome to Demography Is Destiny. We launched this to counter two media memes: that humans are a cancer which is destroying our planet and that world population is spiralling to unsustainable levels. The real story is that intelligent and inventive human will rise to the challenge of climate change and that our real problem is the coming demographic winter. The editors of Demography is Destiny are Marcus and Shannon Roberts, who live in Auckland, New Zealand. Send them your comments and suggestions. 


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