Monday, April 23, 2018

Overpopulation Leads to Catastrophe


medicalnewstoday |  The potentially catastrophic consequences of an exponentially growing global population is a favorite subject for writers of dystopian fiction. 

The most recent example, Utopia - a forthcoming David Fincher-directed series for HBO - won critical acclaim in its original incarnation on UK television for its depiction of a conspiracy-laden modern world where the real threat to public health is not Ebola or other headline-friendly communicable viruses, but overpopulation. 

Fears over the ever-expanding number of human bodies on our planet are not new and have been debated by researchers and policy makers for decades, if not centuries. However, recent research by University of Washington demographer Prof. Adrian Raftery - using modern statistical modeling and the latest data on population, fertility and mortality - has found that previous projections on population growth may have been conservative. 

"Our new projections are probabilistic, and we find that there will probably be between 9.6 and 12.3 billion people in 2100," Prof. Raftery told Medical News Today. "This projection is based on a statistical model that uses all available past data on fertility and mortality from all countries in a systematic way, unlike previous projections that were based on expert assumptions." 

Prof. Raftery's figure places up to an additional 5 billion people more on the Earth by 2100 than have been previously calculated. 
 
A key finding of the study is that the fertility rate in Africa is declining much more slowly than has been previously estimated, which Prof. Raftery tells us "has major long-term implications for population."