Key Issues and Questions: Possible Answers
How has the global human population changed from early times to 1800? From 1800 until the
present? What is projected over the next 50 years?
“From the dawn of human history until the beginning of the 1800s, population increased slowly
and variably, with periodic setbacks.
It was roughly 1830 before world population reached the 1
By 1930, however, just 100 years later, the population had doubled to 2 billion.
30 years later, in 1960, it reached 3 billion, and in only 15 more years, by 1975, it had climbed to 4
Thus, the population doubled in just 45 years, from 1930 to 1975.
Then 12 years later, in
1987, it crossed the 5 billion mark! In 1999, world population passed 6 billion, and it is currently
growing at the rate of nearly 77 million people per year.”
“On the basis of current trends (which assumes a continued decline in fertility rates), the U.N.
Population Division (UNPD) medium projection predicts that world population will pass the 7 billion
mark in 2012, the 8 billion mark in 2024, and the 9 billion mark in 2047, and will reach 9.1 billion in
2050. At that point, world population will still be increasing by 34 million per year.”
How is the world divided in terms of relative per capita incomes? Fertility rates? Population growth
High income, highly developed, industrialized countries
: Countries included in this group
are the United States, Canada, Japan, Western Europe and Scandinavia, Singapore, Taiwan, Israel, and
Only 15% of the world’s population lives in these countries, but these countries control
80% of the world’s wealth. Gross national income per capita (2003) is $9,386 and above, with an
average of $28,550. Fertility rate is 1.6 and the growth rates are flat to negative.
Middle income, moderately developed countries
: Countries in this group include Latin
America, northern and western Africa, eastern Asia, eastern Europe, and the countries of the former
U.S.S.R. Gross national income per capita (2003) ranges from $766 to $9,385, with an average of
Low income countries
: Countries included in this group are eastern, western, and central
Africa, India, other countries in central Asia, and a few former Soviet republics. Gross national income
per capita (2003) is less than $766, with an average of $450.
Eighty-five percent of the world’s population lives in the middle and low-income countries,
but these countries control only 20% of the wealth. Middle to low income country fertility rates are 3.5
(excluding China), with slow to rapid growth rate.