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Alarming future security threat, World population to hit 11 billion by 2100

A new study led by the University of Washington and the United Nations finds that world population is likely to keep growing throughout the 21st century, reaching 11 billion by 2100, about 2 billion higher than widely cited previous estimates. The growth shall be led by Africa, which is forecasted to to quadruple from about 1 billion people to 4 billion by the beginning of the next century. Asia that includes population leaders India and China, will see growth fall off after peaking at 5 billion people in 2050. North America, South America, Europe and the Caribbean will all stay relatively uncrowded with populations below 1 billion.

This is the first U.N. Population report to use modern statistics, known as Bayesian statistics, that combines all available information to generate better predictions.

Population growth puts pressure on the country’s resources. Most of the growth will be in Africa, and it could lead to shortages of food, water, energy and housing if economic and social development isn’t accelerated there. The scarcity of essential resources would lead to more and more competition for them and hence may emerge as potential sources of conflict. Uneven distribution and access of resources, also shall increase the likelihood of societal instability and of disagreement between states, and providing the triggers that may ignite conflict.

Africa is also projected to have a large youth bulge (numbers between 15-29 age groups), in the middle of this century. Youth bulges are likely to provide a reservoir of disaffected young people. In particular, young males with limited economic prospects may be susceptible to radicalisation.

Also Africa and Asia are predicted to have the greatest increase in urbanization, attracted by access to jobs, resources and security. This shall result in a large increase in people living in slums. Many large urban areas, especially in regions suffering from poor governance, are likely to become centers of criminality and disaffection and may also be focal points for extremist ideologies. Rapid urbanisation is likely to lead to an increased probability of urban insurgency. Thus Africa will remain the region most vulnerable to economic disruption, population stresses, civil conflict, and political instability.

Rising population could exacerbate world problems such as climate change and infectious disease. The first cases of the current West African epidemic of Ebola virus disease were reported on March 22, 2014, with a report of 49 cases in Guinea. By August 31, 2014, a total of 3,685 probable, confirmed, and suspected cases in West Africa had been reported. According to a CDC report, If conditions continue without scale-up of interventions, cases will continue to double approximately every 20 days, and the number of cases in West Africa will rapidly reach extraordinary levels. Thus, substantial public health challenges are posed by the predicted number of future Ebola cases. Thus it is probable, in the future Africa can become a large exporter of Ebola type epidemics.

The authors of UN report note that the two things that decrease fertility rates are more access to contraceptives and education of girls and women, and Africa could benefit greatly by acting now to lower its fertility rate.

About Rajesh Uppal

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