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The earth isn't going to get any bigger

June 13, 2013 - Steve Murch
The United Nations released its future population forecast and it's kind of scary. I'm not one of those Zero Population people, but frankly they might be on to something. The projected population in 2025 — just 12 years from now — is 8.1 billion people, which is an increase of about 900 million people, or an increase of about 75 million per year.

It gets better (?) for 2050 — 9.6 billion. The rate slows to 60 million per year between 2025 and 2050. Holy massive reproduction Batman, that's a lot of people.

The projection has remained the same about India eventually passing China as the most populated country in the world. China's population is expected to begin to decline in 2030. Does anyone else remember the saying about lining up the Chinese two abreast and marching them into the sea? The saying was that the line would never end because they'd reproduce fast enough to keep the line going. True or not, it is a great analogy.

The finding that hits closer to home is Nigeria passing the United States in population before the middle of the century. According to the U.N. forecast, Nigeria will have 440.3 million people and the U.S. will 400.8 million by 2050.

Let's put that into a little perspective to see how scary that could be in terms of living conditions, etc.

Nigeria's population was estimated last year at 170,123,740. So the U.N. is projecting the growth to be roughly 270.2 million people in the next 27 years — about 10 million per year. That means its rate will be accelerating because in the last six years the estimated growth was about 30 million (only 5 million per year).

The U.S. population is about 316,037,000 people, so our country would grow roughly 84.8 million people, or a little over 3 million per year.

Here's where it gets even worse. Nigeria is 356,667 square miles, Alaska is 663,268 square miles and Texas is 268,581 square miles. How in the world will they be able to cram 440 million people into a place a little over half the size of Alaska and slightly less than a third larger than Texas?

Nigeria is currently the seventh most populated country in the world. To bring it home a little more, let's look at the eighth most populated country in the world, Bangladesh.

The population of Bangladesh is 161,083,804, and the size is 56,977 square miles. That's 2,676.8 people per square mile. The Lower Peninsula of Michigan is 54,015 square miles. Michigan's population is 9,883,360 — the ninth most populated state. At some point it's OK to slap your forehead or shake your head, those numbers are hard to put your mind around. Where in the heck do they put them all in Bangladesh?

All I can say is: How will they all be fed? I'm glad I don't have to figure that one out.


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