World Population Awareness

Population Dynamics - Countries

December 07, 2014

Population Reference Bureau's Interactive Map

April 05, 2012, Population Reference Bureau


Population Reference Bureau's Interactive Map

April 05, 2012, Population Reference Bureau


2004 World Population Data Sheet

August 2004, Population Reference Bureau

Nearly 99% percent of population increase takes place in poor countries. By 2050 industrialized countries will increase their population by 4% while developing countries expand by 55%. Western European populations will shrink, while Western Asian nations will gain 186 million people by 2050. World population will reach 9.3 billion by mid-century. Vast investments are needed to provide a higher quality of life for Nigeria's growing population, while Japan must find ways to take care of retired people and still maintain an adequate workforce. The UN has produced estimates of AIDs prevalence that are reworked every two years. UNAIDS estimates that, globally, 1.1% of adults ages 15 to 49 were living with AIDs at the end of 2003, up from 1.0% 2 years before. In sub-Saharan Africa, prevalence declined from 7.6% to 7.5% over the 2001-2003 period. 14 African countries are estimated to have a decline in their AIDs prevalence, led by Kenya and Uganda while 24 African countries have shown no decrease or a rise. 2.9 million adults and children died of AIDS in 2003, and the number of children orphaned by the disease rose from 11.5 million in 2001 to 15.0 million in 2003.

World's Largest Country Rankings
rank 2004 2050
1China1.3b India1.628b
2India1.087b China1.437b
3 United States 294m United States 420m
4 Indonesia 219m Indonesia 308m
5 Brazil 179m Nigeria 307m
6 Pakistan 159m Pakistan 295m
7 Russia 144m Bangladesh 280m
8 Bangladesh 141m Brazil 221m
9 Nigeria 137m DR Congo 181m
10 Japan 128m Ethiopia 173m

Shrinking Cropland in Countries with Weak Family Planning Programs

March 1999, World Watch Institute

Among the larger countries where shrinking cropland per person threatens future food security are Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Pakistan, all countries with weak family planning programs. For example, as Nigeria's population goes from 111 million today to a projected 244 million in 2050, its grainland per person will shrink from 0.15 hectares to 0.07 hectares. Pakistan's projected growth from 146 million today to 345 million by 2050 will shrink its grainland per person from 0.08 hectares at present to 0.03 hectares, an area scarcely the size of a tennis court. Countries where grainland per person has shrunk to 0.03 hectares, such as Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, each import some 70% of their grain. More than three-quarters of a billion people suffer from malnutrition. Between 1945 and 1990 food production and other human activities degraded nearly three billion acres of vegetated land, an area equal to China and India combined. Two thirds of the most degraded land is in Africa and Asia. doclink

"Human Population: The Next Half Century," by J. E. Cohen

November 23, 2003, Science magazine

An excellent detailed series of statistics on population growth and the projected changes in the near future. Globally, the annual population growth rate is 1.22%, expected to reduce to 0.33% by 2050. In rich areas of the world, the annual rate is 0.25%, while in poor areas it is 1.46% - six times faster.In the 49 countries where the world's poorest 670 million people lived in 2000, population increases 2.41% a year.By 2050, Japan is expected to be 14% smaller, Italy 22% smaller, and the Russian Federation 29% smaller. By contrast, the population of today's poor countries is projected to rise to 7.7 billion in 2050 from 4.9 billion in 2000. Fertility in the less developed regions is expected to fall to replacement level in 2030-2035. The average global population density of 45 people/km2 in 2000 is projected to rise to 66 people/km2 by 2050. Globally, perhaps 10% of land is arable, so population densities per unit of arable land are roughly 10 times higher. In the rich countries, the population density was 23 people/km2 in 2000 and is not expected to change by 2050. In the poor countries, the population density was 59 people/km 2in 2000 and was projected to rise to 93 people/km2 by 2050, posing unprecedented problems of land use and preservation. From 2000 to 2050, the ratio of population density for poor countries compared to rich countries will rise from 2.6 to 4.0. The population density of Europe is projected to drop from 32 to 27 people/km2 while that of Africa is projected to rise from 26 to 60 people/km2. The average infant born in a poor country had a chance of dying before age 1 that was 8.1 times higher than that in a rich country in 2000-05. At current birth rates, during her lifetime, the average woman in the poor countries bears nearly twice as many children (2.9) as in the rich countries (1.6). doclink

India World's Largest Nation by 2030, UN Says

February 25, 2005, Agence France Presse

The UN's latest global population report predicted that India would reach 1.593 billion by 2050, while China will reach 1.392 billion. India will surpass China by 2030. India's fertility rate is over three children per woman while China's is about 1.7. The report also forecast that world population will hit 9.1 billion by 2050, with India and Pakistan seeing the biggest increases. But almost all of the growth will come in developing nations, and the overall increase is "inevitable" even though fertility rates in the developed world continue to plummet. In 15 nations mostly in Europe the birth rate has fallen below 1.3 children per woman. The U.S. increase is due to the continuing arrival of immigrants, who tend to have more children. Population is expected to triple in Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chad, Congo, the DRC, East Timor, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger and Uganda. The projections assume a decline in fertility from 2.6 children per woman to slightly more than 2 by 2050. The trend toward lower birth rates combined with longer life expectancy means that the world population will be getting older. Those more than 80 years old are believed to number around 86 million now and will soar to 394 million by mid-century. doclink

World Population 'to Rise by 40%'

February 25, 2005, BBC News

The world's population is expected to rise from 6.5 billion to 9.1 billion by 2050 with the growth in the developing world. The population of developed countries will remain at 1.2 billion. India will be the world's most populous country by 2030. The population in the world's 50 poorest countries will more than double by 2050. Afghanistan, Chad and East Timor will see their numbers going up three-fold. They are unable to provide shelter and food for all their people, but if fertility dropped, they would buy time to face the problems. Africa has seen life expectancy at birth decline from 62 in 1995 to 48 years in 2000-2005 due to the spread of HIV and other infectious diseases, as well as armed conflicts and economic stagnation. The overall trend shows a lower rate of growth in the past 20 to 50 years. The population continues to grow but at a lower pace. By July 2005, the world will have 6.5 billion inhabitants, 380 million more than in 2000 or a gain of 76 million annually. Eight countries will account for half the population increase: India, Pakistan, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangladesh, Uganda, the United States of America, Ethiopia and China, listed according to the size of their contribution to population growth. doclink

Winners and Losers in World of Huge Population Change 9 Billion People

February 26, 2005, The Scotsman

The world's population is expected to rise from the current 6.5 billion to 9.1 billion by 2050. India's population will overtake China before 2030, while Britain will be bigger than France by 2025 but Scotland faces a decline. China has been exercising a birth control policy, although there are considering relaxing it because of the ageing population. India's higher fertility will overtake China as the world's most populated country. Britain's population will overtake France by having higher immigration. The population of the developed world will remain stable while Scotland faces population decline, with 5.05 million falling to 4.84 million by 2009. The rise of global population is a serious concern but has slowed in recent years. There will be 1,395 million people in India by 2025, and 1,593 million by 2050. China's population will grow to 1,441 million by 2025, before slipping back to 1,392 million in 2050. The UK's population will overtake France by 2025, rising from almost 60 million to more than 67 million by 2050 while France's population will have risen from 60.5 million to 63.1 million. France and Britain have similar birth and death rates, but the UN assumes that Britain will have a higher rate of immigration. The big concern is Africa. The UN's revision said the population in less-developed countries was expected to swell from 5.3 billion today to 7.8 billion in 2050. By contrast, the population of richer, developed countries will remain unchanged, at 1.2 billion. In 1950, the world's population stood at 2.5 billion, which rose to just over 4 billion by 1975. In 1999 it was just over 6 billion and by the start of 2004 had reached 6.3 billion. The expected growth has serious implications because it will be concentrated in countries that have problems providing adequate health and shelter. India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Congo, Bangladesh, Uganda, the United States, Ethiopia and China are likely to contribute half of the world's population increase. The population is projected to at triple in Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chad, Congo, the Republic of Congo, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger and Uganda. In southern Africa, with the highest AIDS prevalence, life expectancy has fallen from 62 years in 1995 to 48 years and is projected to decrease to 43 over the next decade. China's changing population was due to uprooting people from rural lifestyles into an urban economy. China has an ageing population but the picture is much rosier for India which has a younger populationto power its economy and fertility rates are slowing down. Europe's population is on a downward trend and will drop from 728 million to 653 million in 2050. That figure includes population falls in Italy and Germany. By 2050, there will be 101 million Turks up from 73 million. doclink

New UN Population Division Fertility Reports

December 2011

From the Executive Summary: Since the 1970s the world has experienced profound changes in fertility, union formation and contraceptive demand. Fertility has declined throughout the world, early childbearing and marriage are less common and the percentage of women and men using contraception, especially modern methods, has risen.

The World Fertility Report 2009 presents a compilation of key indicators of fertility, nuptiality, contraceptive use and relevant population policies for 196 countries over the past 40 years.

1. Fertility declined worldwide to unprecedented levels between the 1970s and the first decade of the twenty-first century. Total fertility fell in all but three of the 185 countries or areas for which data are available. In the most recent period covered, 75 countries or areas had a total fertility below 2.1 children per woman, the level required to ensure the replacement of generations in low mortality populations.

2. The median level of total fertility among developing countries fell by more than half, from 5.7 children per woman in the 1970s to 2.5 children per woman in the most recent period. More than a third of all developing countries experienced fertility declines of at least 1.0 child per woman per decade during that period. Yet total fertility is below replacement level (2.1 children per woman) in 32 of 102 developing countries or areas with data available and remains above 4.0 children per woman in 10 countries or areas.

3. Fertility levels among the least developed countries remain high and have undergone only moderate decline since 1970s. Among the 39 least developed countries with data, the median total fertility declined from 6.5 children per woman in the 1970s to 5.4 children per woman in the first decade of the twenty-first century. In 2000-2007, more than two- thirds of the least developed countries still had total fertility higher than 5.0 children per woman.

4. By the first decade of the twenty-first century, none of the developed countries had total fertility above 2.1 children per woman. Total fertility was below 1.4 children per woman in about half of developed countries.

(not all points are covered. Go to the link in the headline for the complete report)

7. Increasing numbers of Governments have become dissatisfied with the fertility levels of their populations. In 1976, 53% of Governments at the world level viewed their fertility levels as being satisfactory, and by 2009 only 38% held this view. Among developed countries, an increasing proportion of Governments viewed their fertility levels as being too low: 21% in 1976 compared to 61% in 2009.

8. Age at marriage has been rising around the world.

10. Marriage is becoming less relevant for childbearing. In 62 countries with data on extramarital births the median percentage of all births that occurred out of formal (legal) marriage rose substantially, from 7.1% in the 1970s to 33.8%in the first decade of the twenty-first century.

11.The use of contraception among women aged 15 to 49 who are married or in a union increased in 90% of the 68 countries or areas with data. Among developing countries, contraceptive use increased sharply, where the median of the distribution rose from 44.6% in 1970-1979 to 64.1% in 2000-2009.

12. Despite increases in contraceptive use over time, levels of unmet need for family planning in 2000-2009 were moderate to high in developing and least developed countries. Among the 37 developing countries with data for 2000-2009, half had levels of unmet need for family planning between 7.5% and 20.2%. doclink

Latest Demographic and Health Surveys Show Varied Progress in Health and Fertility

November 04, 2011, Population Reference Bureau

Population Reference Bureau senior demographer Carl Haub has summarized data on reproductive health and maternal and child health from recently released Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) for a number of developing countries.

Large declines in womens total fertility rate (TFR) have been seen in Ethiopia and Rwanda. Rwanda's progress is the sharpest TFR decline in sub-Saharan Africa that Haub has seen. infant and child mortality are also declining dramatically in both countries, however, Ethiopia is challenged in getting health care delivery to its large rural population.

Slower fertility declines are seen in Burkina Faso, Malawi, and Senegal, but these countries are showing considerable progress in maternal and child health.

Zimbabwe has seen an increase in fertility, a rise in childhood mortality and its progress on health seems to have stagnated in recent years.

Nepal's TFR has been steadily declining and the country is on track to reaching replacement level of 2.1 children per woman. Nepal's progress in childhood mortality is lagging.

India has experienced lack of success in slowing down the birth rate. The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry in Delhi proposed new incentives for lowering birth rates. Progress in childhood mortality is also lagging.

Vietnam's "one-to-two" children policy has resulted in a below replacement level TFR, even in rural areas.

Taiwan's TFR of 0.9 children per woman in 2010 was the lowest in the world. But births in the first nine months of 2011 have increased compared with the same period last year. doclink

Google Population Graphs

2010, Google

Informative interactive graphs showing population curves over time. You can choose the country or countries to show on the graph.

An excellent way to become knowledgeable about how population growth is slowing, but not fast enough in most countries. doclink

Population Pyramids

'Population Bomb' Forecast Proves Wrong

August 30, 2004, New York Times*

Predictions that the globe's population would soar to catastrophic levels are proving inaccurate, the New York Times reported. Paul Ehrlich created a scare with his book "The Population Bomb," warning of the consequences of too many people. But ever since the U.N. Population Division has regularly revised its estimates downward and now expects population to level off at 9 billion. This is attributed to declining birth rates and improved public health measures. Nearly half the world's people live in cities, and when in a city, children are not as helpful as on the farm. Barring disaster, a country needs a birthrate of 2.1 children per woman to hold steady. In 1970, the world's fertility level was 5.4, but in 2000, it was 2.9. doclink

The U.N. revised its calculations downward to 9 billion several years ago. 9 billion is still an increase of 50% over today's numbers - a disaster for the planet where 2 billion make less than $2 a day and 40% do not have basic sanitation. Still a long way to go and perhaps we are already too late.

Philippines: More Economic Activity Needed to Temper Population Rise

April 06, 2006, Business World

The economy needs to grow 7%-9% annually, equitably distributed among all classes to slow down the Philippines' population growth. The more low-income groups, the more people will be added to the Philippine population.

A 5%-6% growth will benefit only the upper classes. It needs to grow 7%-9% and be felt by all levels, including the low-income groups.

The Philippine population is growing at 2.36% annually, one of the highest in Asia, and is estimated at 87 million.

With the Catholic Church opposed to family planning methods, President Arroyo is endorsing the use of natural family planning and ordered the release of P30 million for this program.

The economy expanded by 6% in 2004 and 5.1% last year. But growth was not equitably felt. The Philippine economy needs to grow 7%-8% annually to cut poverty.

The government will work with local government units and financial institutions in stimulating growth in the countryside. The Philippines needs to attract investments, but economic provisions in the Constitution need to be changed. The ideal population growth for the Philippines is 1.8%-1.9%.

High population growth is straining resources. For example, there are more students than the educational system can handle.

Yet the Philippine population, is "more stable" compared to those of countries such as Japan where people over 60 years old are expected to outnumber those younger by 2015.

Filipino mothers tend to have one more child than they want and there is a demand for family planning services.

Population management advocates should go to local government units, because there, church officials are less dogmatic and local officials more cooperative. doclink

Modeling Fertility in Modern Populations

March 2007, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

The age-specific fertility pattern has a shape common in all human populations. Recently however, the fertility pattern in developed countries exhibits a deviation from the classical one. Data sets of United Kingdom, Ireland and US show a bulge in fertility rates of younger women. In countries with distorted fertility, the pattern of first births exhibits a hump in younger ages, stronger than that of the total pattern. This heterogeneity indicated by the recent fertility distributions of European countries and the US might be related to marital status, religion, educational level and differences in social and economic conditions. In the US this might be related to ethnic difference. In this paper, a new flexible model for describing both the old and the new patterns of fertility is proposed. Follow the link above for more detail. doclink

Population: a Lively Introduction

March 2007, Population Reference Bureau

Demography is the study of human populations: Populations grow or decline through the interplay of three demographic processes: birth, death, and migration. The newest edition of "Population: A Lively Introduction," introduces the basics of population studies and explains how to calculate the total fertility rate (TFR) and also reviews the social and biological factors that affect when women have children and how many they will have. The study of mortality is less certain than it would seem. More and more people are living past 100, but we don't know what the upper limit to human life might be. No one has lived beyond 122 years and five months, as far as we know. Just as HIV devastated certain population groups and some entire countries, we might see unexpected medical breakthroughs that protect against HIV and slow aging.

Migration is the third demographic variable with key variables such as age structure that determine population size and change. The relationship between slow population growth and aging, between immigration and ethnic composition, are added to the basic theories of population growth and change.

This new book serves as a demography primer for anyone interested in the topic, which, according to McFalls, includes everyone. doclink

Asia's 163 Million Missing Girls

The Daily Beast (US)

Mara Hvistendahl is the author of Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men. She puts the number of missing girls in Asia at 163 million, more than the entire female population in the U.S. The imbalance was made possible by gender-selection abortion practices not only in China, but in India and other developing countries -- and in ethnic Asian communities in the U.S.

As a result, tens of millions of men in Asia, 'surplus males,' who, without female counterparts, may purchase women from poorer countries.

Sex selection has taken hold thanks to technology, lower birth rates, and deep-seated cultural biases that require a boy to carry on a family's lineage.

Abortion is accessible and widely used in most cultures, easier to obtain than in the U.S. There are nearly three abortions for every birth in some countries. "The availability of relatively inexpensive screening with unconditional abortion is a game changer," says Nicholas Eberstadt, a demographer at American Enterprise Institute.

Falling birth rates in developing countries, which improve the health and education of mothers and children, have the unintended consequence of encouraging sex-selection abortion. When a woman gave birth to six children, the odds were 99% that one would be a boy. With two children, it's only a 24% chance. "It's not that women want more boys, they have less chance of getting them," says Hvistendahl. Eberstadt says that women will take whatever sex with the first child, but after that, it's "very apparent there?s a massive parental intervention going on."

Sex selection happens more frequently with the urban, educated middle-class, says Hvistendahl, adding that it seems paradoxical that educated women are more likely to abort a fetus. Women in China are doing better than ever before, with more women in Ph.D. programs than men. "Yet this is happening at the same time,? she says. "If you don?t have a boy, you lose status." doclink

Karen Gaia says: this is a big surprise to me that educated women are doing sex selection. According to some experts, sex selection raises the replacement fertility because there are fewer women to bear children.

Religions and Babies

May 2012, Gapminder World

Is there a relation between religion, sex and the number of babies per woman? In this TED talk from Doha, Qatar, Hans Rosling discusses this delicate topic and explains the main reason why the world population will increase with another 3 billion people.

It's not religion; it's not income. What is it?

. http to see and explore the interactive map shown in the video.

Image from Qatar government website

Image from Gapminder World website at doclink

Population Decline/Graying

Historical TFR's by Region

August 2003, Patrick Burns

Are we making progress in reducing fertility rates? The short answer is "yes," as the numbers below make clear. Unfortunately, even after a region has reached replacement level fertility, population growth typically continues for 40 years or so due to demographic momentum. The good news is that fertility rates in some parts of the world have not stopped at replacement levels, and have dived below replacement -- Canada, Japan, and most of the countries of Europe and the former Soviet Union are good examples. The table below details the past 50 years of fertility decline, by region of the world, and gives the U.N. median variant for the next 50 years. No one knows whether the U.N. median variant will, in fact track, with what actually happens, but in recent years the U.N. medium variant for the world has been high, not low. As the table below suggests, the big outlier in terms of fertility decline is Africa. On the slightly hopeful side, 4 of the top 10 countries with the fastest fertility declines from 1990-2000 were in Africa (Kenya, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Malawi) and two of the countries that are expected to have the fastest fertility declines from 2000 to 2010 are in Africa (Malawi and Mozambique) while 4 others are in the Middle East (Syria, Gaza Strip, Iran, Yemen). UN Medium Variant from U.N. World Population Prospects: 2002 Revision Database

1950-1955 5.02 6.74 5.89 2.66 5.89 3.47 3.9
1955-1960 4.95 6.8 5.63 2.66 5.93 3.72 4.12
1960-1965 4.97 6.86 5.63 2.58 5.97 3.34 4.01
1965-1970 4.91 6.8 5.68 2.36 5.55 2.54 3.59
1970-1975 4.48 6.71 5.06 2.16 5.03 2.01 3.25
1975-1980 3.9 6.59 4.17 1.97 4.48 1.78 2.82
1980-1985 3.57 6.43 3.66 1.88 3.9 1.81 2.62
1985-1990 3.37 6.08 3.4 1.83 3.39 1.89 2.56
1990-1995 3.03 5.63 2.98 1.58 3.01 2.02 2.55
1995-2000 2.83 5.22 2.72 1.42 2.72 2.01 2.45
2000-2005 2.69 4.91 2.55 1.38 2.53 2.05 2.34
2005-2010 2.59 4.57 2.42 1.37 2.36 2.05 2.23
2010-2015 2.5 4.19 2.3 1.4 2.23 2.03 2.16
2015-2020 2.41 3.84 2.21 1.44 2.13 2.02 2.12
2020-2025 2.33 3.52 2.13 1.52 2.04 1.99 2.08
2025-2030 2.25 3.23 2.06 1.63 1.98 1.96 2.04
2030-2035 2.18 2.98 2 1.72 1.94 1.94 2
2035-2040 2.12 2.75 1.95 1.79 1.91 1.91 1.97
2040-2045 2.06 2.56 1.93 1.83 1.88 1.89 1.94
2045-2050 2.02 2.4 1.91 1.84 1.86 1.85 1.92


World Carryover Grain Stocks Fall to 72 Days of Consumption - Uncomfortably Close to Level Prior to 2007-08 Food Price Spike

August 12, 2010, Earth Policy Institute

Estimates for this year's global grain carryover stocks have fallen to 444 million tons, according to the USDA's August 12th World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report. This amount of grain remaining in the world's silos and stockpiles when the next harvest begins is enough to meet 72 days of consumption.

"This drop in world carryover stocks of grain to 72 days of consumption is moving us uncomfortably close to the 64 days of carryover stocks in 2007 that fueled the 2007-08 spike in world food prices," according to Lester R. Brown, of Earth Policy Institute.

A searing record heat wave, severe drought, and relentless wildfires in Russia and Central Europe have decimated the region's harvests. Russia's wheat production is now estimated at 45 million tons, a 27% drop from last year. In Kazakhstan, the wheat harvest is down 32% to 12 million tons, and in Ukraine it is 17 million tons, 19% smaller than in 2009. On August 5, Russia announced that it was banning grain exports at least through the end of the year and requested that neighboring countries do the same. Since these three countries typically supply a fourth of world wheat exports, wheat prices have risen along with the region's temperature.

Russia runs the risk of drought spillover into the next year if there is not enough soil moisture to plant the new winter wheat crop. With soils parched, planting time only days away, and not much rain in prospect, this is a growing concern in Moscow, and indeed in the world.

Rising temperatures and food security do not mix, notes Brown. "The situation in Russia gives us a preview of what could be in store if we continue to overheat our planet. This should be a wake-up call for the world: to protect our food security we need to dramatically cut carbon dioxide emissions. We cannot continue to burn coal and oil with abandon and expect to have bumper harvests that can keep up with the record demand generated by population growth and the increasing use of grain to feed livestock and to fuel cars." doclink

Karen Gaia says: another danger of globilization. Globally, people should be practicing local sustainability. Populations are more likely to get out of hand when food and other resources is taken from another region.

U.S.: America's Rivers at Risk

October 23, 2005, Hartford Courant

In October 2001, the Rio Grande petered out before it reached the sea. A river that once disgorged fresh water into the Gulf of Mexico was transformed into little more than a brook that disappeared in the dry, flat country on the Texas and Mexico border. From Colorado the Rio Grande is tapped for agriculture and drinking water; so much so that the river's flow is but a fraction of what it once was, and demand for its water continues to grow. There are too many people using too much water. In northern New Mexico, the Rio Grande flows through canyon walls but even here, virtually every drop spoken for. Sit by a bridge and you're likely to see a farmer pull up in a pickup truck, glance to see that no one is watching, fill a tank with water and drive off. There is an over-allocation problem, and it's about to become obvious to everybody. In the arid Southwest, it is impossible to overstate how precious river water has become, and how contested. The Gila, which flows through Phoenix, is sucked dry before it reaches the Colorado River, into which it once flowed. The Colorado is tapped by so many interests that it, too, no longer reaches the sea. But the Rio Grande, the Gila and the Colorado are a glimpse of what the rest of the country is beginning to experience. We're going to butt up against the limits of clean, fresh water. The National Research Council - that advises Congress - concluded in a book-length report that in years ahead the United States will be challenged to provide sufficient quantities of high-quality water to its growing population. In northern California and Oregon, farmers along the Klamath River were outraged when they were denied irrigation water. The river had become so low that a threatened fish species, coho salmon, did not have sufficient water to migrate upstream to spawn. Georgia, Alabama and Florida have argued for years over rights to various river flows. Years of controversy over a diversion in a scenic river in Connecticut, the Shepaug, led to a state Supreme Court decision between Waterbury, which diverts the water, and environmental interests. During a dry spell last month, a half-mile-long stretch of the Fenton River next to a University of Connecticut wellfield dried up, killing thousands of trout. In New York state, anglers complain that New York City, which diverts drinking water from the Delaware River, isn't allowing sufficient flow to keep trout alive. Nine scientists prominent in river ecology research concluded that population growth and climate change would put great stress on water supplies in the next few years, putting human water needs in conflict with the needs of aquatic life and the overall health of river ecosystems. Water is going to be the issue in the 21st century. In the future, water will be what oil is today. On the Rio Grande, Albuquerque plans for the first time to take water for drinking. Until now, it relied upon groundwater, only to discover it was rapidly depleting that resource. The new plan will tap water diverted from the Colorado River into the Rio Grande, through 26 miles of tunnels under the Continental Divide. But critics are worried about the impact downriver and challenged the city's plan, which is now before a court-ordered mediator. The city argues that it is doing nothing more than using water it owns. Albuquerque's water resources manager said the city has reduced water use by 33% over the past 10 years, even as the city added more than 40,000 new water customers. The city began a 10-year conservation program intended to reduce use by 1% each year. The silvery minnow, an endangered species now found only in the Rio Grande, in a 174-mile stretch that includes Albuquerque, is down to 5% of the river miles it once occupied. In a drought, Albuquerque will be required to reduce its withdrawals from the Rio Grande to protect the minnow. Water is so precious that scientists here are trying to determine which tree species along the river guzzle the most water. Since flows were impounded by dams and the river channel stabilized, two non-native shrubs, saltcedar and Russian olive, have taken over vast sections of riverbank. The dams were meant to conserve water, but research suggests that saltcedar takes up large amounts of water. The section of the Rio Grande below the Elephant Butte Reservoir, south of Albuquerque, "operates largely as a ditch for water delivery for agriculture and rapidly growing municipalities." Water is so intensively used and reused that when it returns to the river through groundwater or wastewater discharges, it can aggravate river problems. Water quality has started to deteriorate because water being used so intensely. doclink

This should be "required reading" in every school and college. We cannot just let people flood to these places; there must be some control.

Fastest-Growing Communities Are in West

September 28, 2005,

Twelve of the 20 fastest growing metropolitan areas are in the West. The fastest is Greeley, Colo. and its surrounding communities, that grew by 16.8% to 211,000 people, between 2000 and 2003. Greeley ranked just ahead of St. George, Utah, and Las Vegas. The area has grown because it's a reasonable commute to Denver and has inexpensive homes. The New York-northern New Jersey-Long Island area has a population of 18.6 million, up 1.7% from three years earlier. The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana population hit 12.8 million. Chicago-Naperville-Joliet was 9.33 million. A metropolitan area is a region containing at least one urbanized area of 50,000 or more people. The report focused on growth estimates from 2000 to 2003. Americans have been moving south and west for decades, with a big jump in population in the South, starting in the 1970s. The West continues to outpace other regions. Population in the western United States grew by 19.7% in the 1990s, followed by the South with 17.3% more people. The Midwest and the Northeast posted single-digit increases. doclink

Countries, Demographics News

Smog Clings to Indonesia Borneo, Rain Helps Sumatra

September 2002, Planet Ark

The fires in Borneo island are started by companies expanding palm tree oil plantations and farmers clearing land to grow food. Smoldering fires in the peat moss on the forest floors burn for months. Visibility was reduced in two of Borneo's provinces and schools and offices remained closed and was 50 metres at the airport for the capital, Palangkaraya City, that has been closed since September 2002, because of smoke. Haze from forest fires, has been a problem for six weeks. It has alo affected Singapore and Malaysia. Indonesia admits its laws are weak and is promising reform. doclink

Not the Year of the Bicycle

September 06, 2002, New York Times*

Ever since the Revolution bicycles have been part of the Chinese landscape. Now urban planners and government have begun treating bicycles as nuisances that impede cars. Shanghai has banned bikes on 54 major roads, and cyclists cannot cross the Huangpu River into the city's new financial and industrial center. Cyclists and environmentalists are unhappy because of ever-worsening vehicle-generated pollution. doclink

Uganda: Family Planning Cause of Fewer Baganda Kids

October 2002, New Vision (Uganda)

People in Buganda region registered the lowest population growth for 10 years. N. Uganda produced the most babies. Population in the north is growing at 4.6%, the eastern region 3.5% the western region 2.9% and Buganda 2.7%. Buganda's population grew by 1,781,645, an increase of 36%. Mubajje said Government and development agencies should not agitate for fewer children but devise means to enable people to create more income to lead better lives. The Government should address the fears on reproduction as Islamic scriptures support procreation and believers should produce more children. doclink

Note: Islam does not necessarily support mindless procreation. See WOA!!s section on Religion.

Toxin Threat to Inuit Food

April 02, 2003, BBC News

The traditional diet of Inuits of Greenland includes polar bears, seals, and whales. It is a healthy diet and no toxins are produced by their lifestyle. Unfortunately persistent organic pollutants, lead, cadmium, mercury, and other hazardous chemicals are being carried from industrialised nations by wind and ocean currents to Inuit Greenland region and accumulating in the same animals the Inuit eat - which could result in birth defects, reduced fertility, and genetic damage for the humans. In fact, in some areas toxic levels were high enough to cause concern for in 100% of the population, and above the "level of action" for 30%. The report from the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) concludes Greenlanders should consider changing their eating habits. The Greenlander diet that has kept Greenland's population protected from ailments typically associated with industrialised societies, like heart disease, diabetes and obesity; so until now people were told to avoid abandoning their traditional diet for a Western one. Diabetes, for example, has increased from almost no cases twenty-five years ago to three times the level in Denmark. "To discover that the food which for generations has nourished them and kept them whole physically and spiritually is now poisoning them is profoundly disturbing and threatens Indigenous Peoples' cultural survival," the report says. doclink

Population Growth Rate Declining in Pakistan

December 2002, Xinhua General News Service

Population growth in Pakistan has declined from 3.6% in the 1980s to 2.1% in 2000-01. It is expected to decline to 1.5% in the next two decades. It is expected to reach 220 million by 2025 from the current 142 million. The average family size was 6.5 children in 1980s is 4.5 at present and expected to decline at 2.1 to 2.6 by 2023. UNFPA will continue its support to Pakistan to check population growth. doclink

U.N. Official Says Bangladesh Must Control Rising Population to Reduce Poverty

December 04, 2002, Associated Press

Bangladesh, one of the world's most densely populated and poorest countries, needs to control its population to reduce poverty. Most of its 130 million people live on less than a dollar day yet the population is increasing by 2.1 percent each year. Despite an increase in the use of contraceptives to an estimated 54%, the average number of children per woman has remained at 3.3 since 1994. The rate has not decreased partly because contraceptives are not consistently used. Social traditions in the Muslim-majority country make it difficult to talk about contraception among young people. Many believe that reproductive services and information will encourage promiscuity, but the reverse is true and information can bring down unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.


Eritrea-Ethiopia: UNICEF Aiming to Get More Girls Into School

December 2002, UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

Ethiopia and Eritrea are part of 25 countries targeted to have the same numbers of boys and girls in schools. The campaign focuses on countries where girls are furthest behind. In Africa, these include the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Guinea, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia. No girl will be left behind as her country moves forward, and will be educated as an agent in her countrys development. Ethiopia has one of the poorest enrollment rates for girls. Afar in Ethiopia is one of the regions hit by drought. Thousands of cattle have died and malnutrition rates have reached 30%. UNICEF aims to work alongside governments in the 25 countries to target girls not in school and help build a consensus about the need to get the girls into school. UNICEF head Carol Bellamy is also looking at child immunisation rates, children orphaned by AIDS, the education gap for girls, and the drought crisis in the five nations of the Horn or Africa. doclink

World Bank Gives Tanzania US$136 Million Grant

December 2002, Associated Press

For the first time the World Bank has given Tanzania a grant of US$136 million. Half of the money will be used against AIDS and the balance on reducing poverty. An estimated 2 million of Tanzania's 32 million people are infected with the HIV virus. 35% live below the poverty line. Tanzania owes the World Bank $2.6 billion in loans and the country's total debt is $6.56 billion. Last year the International Monetary Fund approved debt relief of $3.3 billion spread over 20 years. doclink