Academic journal article The Science Teacher

World Population May Peak in 2050

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

World Population May Peak in 2050

Article excerpt

A research team from the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM) used global population data from 1900 to 2010 to predict that the number of people on Earth will stabilize around the middle of the century. The results, obtained with a model used by physicists, coincide with the United Nations' (UN) downward forecasts.

The UN predicts the world population in the year 2100 will be somewhere between 6.2 billion--fewer than the current 7 billion--and 15.8 billion. A mathematical model developed by a team from UAM and the CEU-San Pablo University, also from Spain, supports the lower estimate, in addition to a standstill or slight drop in world population by mid-century.

Mathematical simulations similar to those used in condensed matter physics were applied to the UN data. "This model describes the evolution of a two-level system in which there is a probability of passing from one level to another," said Felix Munoz, UAM researcher.

"We started with a general situation where both the birth rate and mortality rate were high, with slow growth favoring the former," Munoz said, "but the mortality rate fell sharply in the second half of the 20th century as a result of advances in healthcare. …

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