Africa's population has now passed one billion and at current rates will double by 2050. School children in Central African Republic, photo: Pierre Holtz/UNICEF, Humanitarian and Development Partnership Team in CAR via flickr/Creative Commons.
Here's a sobering thought for your Friday morning: Mongabay reports a new study by the Population Reference Bureau shows that by 2011 world population will hit 7 billion people. That's just twelve years after it hit 6 billion, and 24 since it hit 5 billion: As you may very well be aware, population growth is being driven nearly entirely by the developing world -- despite signs in parts of Asia population growth is slowing.
In particular, African population is growing most rapidly. The entire continent now has a human population of one billion, with the PRB predicting that in will double by 2050.
90% of Young People in Developing Nations
All of this has created a youth bubble throughout the developing world:
The great bulk of today’s 1.2 billion youth—nearly 90 percent—are in developing countries," said Carl Haub, PRB senior demographer and co-author of the data sheet. "During the next few decades, these young people will most likely continue the current trend of moving from rural areas to cities in search of education and training opportunities, gainful employment, and adequate health care.
Add in Resource Over-Consumption & Imbalance...
Let's add another crucial variable to all this: Remember that the bulk of natural resource consumption remains solidly in the wealthy countries of the world, which consume natural resources grossly out of proportion to total population -- if the entire human population consumed resources the way the average person in the United States does, we'd need four additional planets.
Combined with climate change changing resource availability -- not even considering the possible impact of peak oil, should renewable energy not be able to take over quickly enough -- and you have a recipe for conflict.
More: 2009 World Population Data Sheet
When Population Growth and Resource Availability Collide
Is Paul Ehrlich's 'Population Bomb' Defusing Itself? Fred Pearce Thinks So
Brits Break Silence On Population-Climate Change Links
The Best Way You Can Go Green: Have Fewer Children