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UN Predicts World Population to Reach 11 Billion by 2100

Update Date: Jun 13, 2013 05:13 PM EDT
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The world population could reach almost 11 billion by 2100 because of soaring birth rates in Africa, according to a new United Nations report released on Thursday.

Researchers said the latest estimate is about 800 million or about 8 percent more than the previous 2011 projection of 10.1 billion.

"The fertility decline in Africa has slowed down or stalled to a larger extent than we previously predicted, and as a result the African population will go up," Adrian Raftery, a University of Washington professor of statistics and of sociology, said in a news release.

Experts explain that the current African population of about 1.1 billion is expected to quadruple and reach 4.2 billion by the end of the century.

The latest statistics predict fewer major population changes in other parts of the world.  Researchers predict that Europe may experience a small decline because of fertility continuing below replacement level, and other countries around the world may see modest increases due to longer life expectancies.

Lead researcher Adrian Raftery, a University of Washington professor of statistics and of sociology, said that the world's population will continue to increase.  However, the topic has been largely ignored because attention is being placed on other global issues like poverty and climate, both of which have ties to world population.

"These new findings show that we need to renew policies, such as increasing access to family planning and expanding education for girls, to address rapid population growth in Africa," Raftery said.

The global population reached seven billion in 2011 and passed 6 billion in 1999. 

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