www.whyville.net Feb 6, 2005 Weekly Issue

Science Writer

Is Our World Overpopulating???

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As I am writing this article, there are approximately 6.403 billion people living on this planet. That's a lot, right? A month ago there were 6.391 billion people. Next month it is projected that there will be 6.41 billion. The annual growth of the human population is 1.3%.

The world's population is divided up as follows: 60% in Asia, 13% in Africa, 12% in Europe, and 11% in the Americas.

In the U.S., there are approximately 295 million people right now. Every eight seconds there is a birth. Every thirteen seconds there is a death. Based on the 2001 census in Canada, the population had increased 4.0% in the previous five years, bringing its total to about 30 million.

Since 1960, the world's population has doubled. In a U.N. report, the population is projected to increase 50% by 2050, bringing the grand total to 9.3 billion. All of the projected growth is expected to take place in developing countries.

In the same report, it said that the world's richest countries will make up 20% of the population, but will consume (eat up) 86% of the world's food. The poorest 20% of the world will only consume 1.3%.

According to a recent U.N. press release, by the year 2300, the world's population may have two different outcomes.

In one scenario, world fertility rates (the number of babies born) will go down to two children per every woman. With this in mind, the population could vary between 2.3 billion to 36.4 billion in 2300.

In the other scenario, the rates of fertility stay the same as today's rates. The population would end up as 1.34 trillion in 2300. This part of the report indicates that the current rate of fertility cannot continue to exist. Most likely, they say, the population of the world in 2300 will end up at 9 billion, because the fertility rates will most likely decline (go down).

Do you think that sounds like a lot of people? One way or another, I hope this article gave you some helpful insight on this issue.


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