World Population Growth Projections


When school is in session during the Fall and Spring, Aggieland can be a pretty crowded place. Bryan and College Station residents do well to add an extra 5-10 minutes on their travel times, and the lines at restaurants are long. 

Come summertime, however, many of the students head home or away for internships. Residents go on vacation. As a result, the streets open up, you can eat at your favorite local spot, and life slows down a bit.

I was reminded of these dynamics recently when reviewing a new study from the Pew Research Center. The organization examined the world’s population and projections for the future. 

The research agency projects that, by the end of the century, the world’s population will stop increasing, capping at about 10.9 billion people. A number of factors will contribute to this cessation. 

First, global birth rates should decrease from 2.5 today to 1.9. At the same time, the median age is expected to increase to 42—almost doubling the figure observed in 1950.

Third, most continents currently see flat or declining populations, but Africa is the exception. By 2100, it will be second in population size, trailing only Asia. On the other hand, Europe and Latin America will see declining populations by 2100.

Asia is projected to see increased population growth until 2055, and then decline.

In North America, immigration patterns from the rest of the world will largely spur the growth. In fact, there will be 85 million immigrants over the next 80 years. 

Finally, the Latin America and Caribbean region is expected to have the oldest population by 2011, a contrast from year’s past.

Unfortunately, the Pew study says little about how crowded Texas Avenue will be on Saturdays in the Fall. The smart money is on continuing to add extra time for your travel, however.