World population to reach 10 billion by 2100

Booming: India is the fastest-growing country in the world.

Can Earth sustain so many people? The United Nations predicts that our global population will peak at about 10.9 billion by the end of the century. It could put a big strain on resources.

What’s happening

There are currently 7.7 billion people living on planet Earth. By 2050, there will be more than 9 billion. At the end of the century, 10 billion. By then, as birth rates slow down and medicine improves, Earth’s population will start to look much older than it does now.

Find out more

These are the predictions made in a new report by the United Nations. Although the numbers are high, population growth is slowing down. Once it reaches 10 billion, it will finally stop growing.

This is because average birth rates are falling. In the 1990s, women had 3.2 babies in their lifetime. By 2050, it will be down to 2.2.

This is good news for the planet. There is only so much space for people to live on Earth, and we all need resources like food, energy and water to live a healthy life.

As countries get richer, they consume more. This is good for ending poverty, but bad for the planet. Wealthier countries generally have higher carbon dioxide emissions, which makes climate crisis worse.

Can the Earth support 10 billion people?

Some say…

No. It is too much for our poor planet to bear. Earth is already struggling with polluted oceans, toxic air and rising temperatures, thanks to the actions of human beings. A larger population will only worsen these problems. We must find a way to slow down population growth, or none of us — let alone billions — will be able to enjoy our home planet.

Others think…

The problem is not the number of people on Earth, it is the way we live our lives. If everyone took their fair share and no more, we could all live quite happily. That means eating less meat, using less electricity, and buying fewer things that we do not need. If we change the way we live, there will be more than enough room for everyone.

You Decide

  1. What can be done to stop overpopulation?

Activities

  1. Imagine the world in 2010. Earth’s population is 10 billion. Write a short story about what life is like. Is it better than the world we have now, or worse?

Some People Say...

“The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”

Mahatma Gandhi, Indian activist who used nonviolent protest (1869-1948)

What do you think?

Word Watch

Population
The number of people who live in a certain place.
Resources
Supplies.
Consume
Buy or use up.
Poverty
Being extremely poor.
Carbon dioxide
A gas which is produced by burning fuels (amongst other things). It is a “greenhouse gas”, which means it traps heat in the Earth’s atmosphere, leading to global warming.
Polluted
Containing harmful or poisonous substances.

Subjects

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