Report: World population to top 6 billion this year
The population of our planet will increase to 8 billion by the end of 2026, according to the U.S. Census Bureau brief World Population Profile: 1998
April 5, 1999
Web posted at: 11:00 AM EST
World population continues to rise, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released Friday, despite a decline in developing-country fertility rates that began in the 1970s and in some countries the toll taken by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
The population of our planet will increase to 8 billion by the end of 2026, according to the census brief World Population Profile: 1998, and will reach 9.3 billion by 2050. The world's population will pass the 6 billion mark this year.
While the rate of increase is slowing, according to the report, the global population increase is equivalent to adding a new Israel, Egypt, Jordan, West Bank and Gaza to the existing world total each year.
The rate of population growth is largely being decided by less affluent nations according to the report. Ninety-six percent of world population growth occurs in the developing regions of Africa, Asia and Latin America. This percentage is expected to increase during the next 25 years. Ninety percent of the world's births and 77 percent of its deaths took place in these less developed countries in 1998.
In more developed countries, on the other hand, the Census Bureau report says that early in the next century "crude death rates" will exceed "crude birth rates" and the difference will be a negative number — a natural decrease. From about 2020 on, the only variable affecting whether a more developed country increases in population will be international migration.
The report also says substantial gaps will continue to exist in fertility and infant mortality between more developed and less developed countries. A baby born in sub-Saharan Africa is far more likely to die in infancy than a child born in another developing region and has a lower life expectancy than a child born anywhere else. A child born in Latin America or Asia can expect to live between seven and 13 fewer years on average than one born in one of the world's more affluent regions.
Current estimates of people infected with HIV/AIDS worldwide are around 40 million people. It has claimed more than 11 million people since its beginning in the late 1970s. The report predicts that, even though most of the infections have occurred in sub-Saharan Africa, the spread of disease in Asia in the coming years will account for more infections than in sub-Saharan Africa.
"HIV/AIDS has had and continues to have substantial and sometimes dramatic impacts on mortality levels in countries most seriously affected," according to the report. "However, AIDS will not overcome the momentum of population growth at the regional level, even in sub-Saharan Africa."
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