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World population likely to peak by 2070


World population will likely peak at around 9.4 billion around 2070 and then decline to around 9 billion by 2100, according to new population projections from IIASA researchers, published in a new book, World Population and Human Capital in the 21st Century. Alternative scenarios included in the projections range from 7 billion to almost 13 billion by 2100. The book was officially launched today at an event at the Wilson Center in Washington DC.

More than just population numbers, the new book also includes specific projections for population by age, sex, and education level, for 195 countries in the world, from 2010 to 2100.

“This book presents the broadest ever synthesis of expert knowledge on drivers of fertility, mortality, migration and education in all parts of the world,” says Wolfgang Lutz, who led the project. Lutz is Director of IIASA’s World Population Program and Founding Director of the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital, a collaboration of IIASA, the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and the Vienna University of Economics.

The book involved over 550 experts in a series of surveys and expert workshops held on five continents, in order to include the most accurate and up-to-date information on fertility rates, migration, and other demographic variables for each country around the world.

The new projections are the first to structure population projections for all countries by age, sex, and education, rather than just age and sex, as is done by traditional demographic projection tools.

The new projections emphasize the importance of education as a key demographic factor. Alternative scenarios for education improvement around the world show a strong effect on population growth: scenarios where education expands more quickly show world population increasing much more slowly, peaking and declining to 8 billion by 2100. In other scenarios where education improvements come more slowly, world population is projected to reach as much as 10 billion by 2100.

“As women become more educated,” says Lutz, “They gain more power over their reproductive decisions and family size, which almost always translates to having fewer children.”

The projections also show that the current trend of population aging, predominant in Europe, Asia, and other developed regions, is likely to continue and grow more pronounced. However, a growing body of research suggests that traditional measures of age are no longer sufficient, and therefore the projections include new measures of age developed by IIASA researchers which also reflect remaining life expectancy.

The new projections are already being used in the next round of scenario development known as the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs), in the context of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The new IIASA projections differ from recently updated UN projections indicating that world population is likely to reach 11 billion by 2100. For example, in Nigeria, the UN projections show an increase from 160 million people in 2010 to 914 million in 2100. However, this assumes that the fertility rate in the country have recently been stagnant at six children per woman and will only decline slowly. The IIASA data show that fertility rates have already declined to 5.5 and assume a more rapid decline due to the fact that women entering reproductive age are already much better educated than women in higher age groups.

17 Comments on "World population likely to peak by 2070"

  1. penury on Thu, 23rd Oct 2014 1:25 pm 

    I don’t know about others. but any article which refers to anything more than one year in the future is a large ball of crap and not worth spending time on.

  2. poaecdotcom on Thu, 23rd Oct 2014 1:33 pm 

    2070!! roflmao

    It would take a brave person to guess at 2030, maybe even 2020!!!

  3. Northwest Resident on Thu, 23rd Oct 2014 1:40 pm 

    penury — Totally agree.

  4. JuanP on Thu, 23rd Oct 2014 1:53 pm 

    This is BS. It is an established fact that population will peak in 2039. Anybody who knows anything, knows this!

  5. JuanP on Thu, 23rd Oct 2014 1:59 pm 

    How many experts did it take to come up with this crap? 550!
    We don’t even know how many people we have in the world today. We can only make a population estimate with a huge margin of error for today’s population. Yet, we pretend to know what is going to happen in the future.
    We are amazingly arrogant.

  6. MonteQuest on Thu, 23rd Oct 2014 2:51 pm 

    Exponentially growing populations peak when food becomes scarce or predation increases. Seems to be another round of human hubris to assert we can, and will, do an end-run around the laws of biology.

  7. Juan on Thu, 23rd Oct 2014 2:59 pm 

    In 2050 without oil, coal and uranium I dont know how the hell we are going to produce food or anything for so many people.

  8. peakyeast on Thu, 23rd Oct 2014 3:24 pm 

    JuanP: Is it deliberately that you give such a vague estimate?

    I know you know that peak humans will happen 2039 on second of march at 12:55:30 (uS=488321).

    No need to hide that ! But perhaps you are just trying to be on the safe side if someone should blame you for being wrong in 2039.


  9. JuanP on Thu, 23rd Oct 2014 4:27 pm 

    Peak, we must have communicated telepathically. Yes, it was a deliberate omission. 🙂

  10. Kenz300 on Thu, 23rd Oct 2014 5:13 pm 

    The worlds biggest environmental problem is OVER POPULATION.

    Wrap it up…….or snip it……….

  11. Hugh Culliton on Thu, 23rd Oct 2014 7:26 pm 

    I hope that the author’s medical plan covers treatment for substance abuse as this article could only have been written by a model glue-addled brain.

  12. antiwarforever on Fri, 24th Oct 2014 3:57 am 

    I wish it were true, unfortunately I fear that given the continuing high fertility in Africa, the Middle East and southern Asia, peak population may happen much later and at much higher levels…I hope I’ll be proven wrong and overly pessimistic.

  13. Makati1 on Fri, 24th Oct 2014 7:59 am 

    We may currently be at peak population. Obola has not yet run it’s course. Now it is in NYC. Where next? What will Christmas bring? Police State lock-down?

  14. zaphod42 on Fri, 24th Oct 2014 5:47 pm 


    Re: Date and time of peak pop.

    It has been established by Science that world population will peak during the year 2058, and that with an error range of 42 years. It will peak at 8.4 Billion, with an error range of 8.3 Billion.

    Science has spoken!


  15. zaphod42 on Fri, 24th Oct 2014 5:49 pm 

    I might add that those figures being correct have an improbability factor of 10 to the power of 42; if it should occur precisely so, the HOG will pop into existence just as Sol flares and goes out.


  16. JuanP on Fri, 24th Oct 2014 5:57 pm 

    Zaphod, LOL 😉

  17. kervennic on Fri, 24th Oct 2014 6:34 pm 

    I think i will stick ti the recent UN projection and trash this paper.

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