Did you know that the world’s population is set to hit the 9 billion milestone in just 15 years? Our population grows 1% each year, and with more people there are positive and negative outcomes that can follow.

Population Growth and Fertility

Today, Africa is the fastest growing continent with the Sub-Saharan region projected to double by 2050. Asia is another continent contributing to an increase in global population with 1.42 billion people in China, 1.41 billion people in India, and 124 million people in Japan. On the other side, Europe’s population is projected to decline 15% by 2050. Countries like Bosnia, Croatia, and Latvia are some of the countries that are contributing to this population decrease across the country. What is interesting is that countries that are declining in population are some of the healthiest countries that have the longest life expectancies

For example Spain and Italy have life expectancies of 83 years, but they are also two countries who are experiencing a decrease in their population. On the other hand, South Sudan and Somalia have life expectancies of only about 47 years but they are increasing their population yearly. This means that fertility rates are inverse to life expectancy and this contributes to why some countries are experiencing different trends in their population growth.

With some countries declining in population, it can be hard to imagine the 9 billion milestone is only over a decade away, but the global population is on the rise overall. With the population increasing so rapidly, there is some concern regarding how it will affect the global economy and environment. 

Environmental Concern

While the population has continued to rise even in the face of poverty and hunger, experts are now more concerned about the depletion of non-renewable resources. With rapid population growth, there can be congestion in cities that requires more space to be cleared. This often leads to deforestation as well as the relocation of animals.

As more residents flood into cities there is also the risk of higher pollution. More cars on the road and other sources of greenhouse gasses fill the air and can lead to global warming. If the population continues to grow and these trends continue, the environment can suffer greatly. Reaching 9 million humans will be an occasion to celebrate diversity and advancement across all societies, but we must also consider humanity’s shared responsibility to take care of the planet.

Population Growth and the Economy

Some of the main issues that can arise with rapid population growth are economic based. As the population grows there is the risk for  labor shortages, which we are already experiencing at our current population number. By 2030 surpluses are set to become shortfalls and that can risk nearly $10 trillion. What’s more, our population has already slowed global GDP growth, and with the 9 billion milestone in sight it is predicted it will continue to slow. With more people living longer, the need for assisted living facilities,pharmaceuticals, and hospitals will increase, but this means more stress on already stressed industries. More people will be needed to care for the older generation which will continue to grow as the global population’s life expectancy continues to rise. 

On the other hand, a growing population is not inherently negative. What is important is the way that a society functions in the midst of population growth. An older population increases overall productivity. With more people who are living longer, there are more people who are able to work and to grow our capital. Large countries can also lead to an increase in multinational corporations. These corporations and affiliates have already proven to be beneficial with 36% of global output coming from multinational corporations in 2016 alone. With the rate that Africa is growing, effective labor rates are expected to outpace Europe and the Americas between 2020 and 2060. This means more jobs across the continent as well as across other countries in Europe and the Americas as well. 

The growing population will have many lasting effects on the world as we know it. To learn more about how the population affects all areas of our lives, take a look at the infographic below: