- As the world population passes seven billion, there is much hand wringing among the prosperous of the world about the unchecked growth of hungry folk, especially on far-away shores. How can the world accommodate so many people - nine billion by mid-century? For the most part, this standard Western concern is entirely selfish, reflecting race- and class-based fears. What is more, the fear of overpopulation is largely misplaced (although the fear of climate change and other consequences of unchecked consumption are not). In fact, the end of the population explosion is near.
The numbers are dramatic. After all, we only reached a population of one billion people early in the 19th century and two billion in about 1925. In less than a century since then, population has more than tripled. Yet in almost every corner of the developing world, the demographic revolution is reducing fertility rates to levels near or below the replacement rate (about 2.1 babies per woman).