General Article Population and the environment: where we're headed and what we can do

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World population is still growing

While the rate of population growth has slowed in most parts of the world, overall growth continues. We increase by nearly 80 million people every year – the numerical equivalent of adding another US to the world every four years. The number of people on the planet has doubled since 1960 and will reach seven billion in 2011.

Tomorrow’s population size will be determined today

We often hear the prediction that world population will reach nine billion in 2050, but demographers project a range of possibilities – from eight billion to 11 billion by mid-century. By 2100, the range is even wider – from six billion to 16 billion. Tomorrow’s population size depends on the choices couples make about childbearing today, but far too many lack the means to plan and space their pregnancies. Around the world, 215 million women want to prevent pregnancy but need contraception. In nations where access to contraception is limited – such as Yemen, Afghanistan and ...

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