The 12/03 release by the United Nations Population Division (UNPD) paints a bleak future for the human race, with one projection showing the population of the world spiraling downward from the current 6.3 billion to 2.3 billion by 2300.
However, one leading group says the media’s attention is focused more on wild predictions and less on the projection that makes the most sense. The Population Research Institute has called the UNPD’s “low variant” projection, which predicts a drastic decrease in the world’s population, “historically the most accurate.”
Among the other projections is the UNPD’s “medium variant,” which projects a maximum population of 9.1 billion in 2100 and then a stabilization in size.
While considerably smaller than previous long-term projections of 10 or 12 billion world inhabitants, it relies on assumptions about the growth rate that PRI calls “rosy” and “wildly optimistic.”
Fertility rates in industrialized countries are dropping. For instance, the fertility rate of Europe in 2000 was only 1.31, a drastic drop from 2.66 in 1950. Since a fertility rate of 2 or higher is necessary to replace the loss of human life, the low rates paint an alarming picture.