Report: World population growth eases
'We're not out of the woods'
December 27, 1996
Web posted at: 8:10 p.m. EST (0110 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- World population is growing more slowly
than in recent years and with a concerted effort to defuse a
"demographic time bomb," population could stabilize at
8 billion by 2025, an advocacy group said Friday.
Werner Fornos, president of the Washington-based Population
Institute, said the world's population is growing by almost
90 million annually, more slowly than the 100-million-person growth
of recent years.
While he described the reduced rate of growth as an
encouraging trend, population growth is still too high for
the planet to support.
"That's analogous to a tidal wave hitting any one of our
coastal cities at 90 feet rather than 100 feet," Fornos said.
"So we're not out of the woods. But it is a turnaround and
spells for the future much promise."
The world's population is nearing 5.9 billion, and will be
over 6 billion by the year 2000. But he said it was "a
dream and a possibility" to stabilize the population at 8
billion by 2025 "if we keep doing what works."
Fornos attributed the recent slowing of the growth rate
partly to better education and opportunities for girls and
"Whenever a woman has an eighth grade education, she has half
the number of pregnancies of her uneducated sister," said
And he said the 1994 world population and development
conference in Cairo has improved family planning efforts
"Aside from universal access to affordable family planning,
equity and equality for women is the most important
intervention that can be taken for slowing population growth,
as well as for helping the poorest to escape poverty," the
institute report said.
Some nations, including Thailand, Turkey and Brazil, have
sharply reduced their growth rates but others, among them
Nigeria, Ethiopia and several Central American nations, are
on a course to double their population within 30 years, the
The institute also expressed concern that conservatives in
the U.S. Congress could hinder efforts to address
overpopulation by delaying $385 million appropriated for
international family planning.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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