The world population will reach seven billion later this year, with increases in the number of people in Africa off-setting birth rate drops elsewhere, according to a new French study published yesterday.
Looking much further ahead, the National Institute for Demographic Studies predicts a continuing rise in the overall population figures until the total stabilises somewhere between nine and 10 billion worldwide by the end of the century. From six billion people, the figure estimated in 1999, the gap between the global birth and death rates has swiftly brought the total figure towards the next billion in just 12 years.
INED expects it to take a further 14 years to reach eight billion people before the figures start stabilising, according to the study which pulls together research carried out by the UN, the World Bank and several major national institutes.
In historical terms the growth in the global population has been soaring since the 19th century.
“It has increased seven-fold over the last two hundred years, topping seven billion this year, and is expected to reach nine or 10 billion by the end of the 21st century,” the report said.