Population Growth Rate Slowing, But Growth Still Notable

The world’s population growth is slowing, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released yesterday. From 2001 to 2002, the population grew by 1.2 percent, down substantially from a peak of 2.2 percent between 1963 and 1964. The bureau projects an annual growth rate of 0.4 percent and a total population of 9.1 billion people by 2050. In positive news, some of the slowing growth can be attributed to women in the U.S. and Europe having fewer children. In mind-bogglingly depressing news, much of the rest can be attributed to AIDS killing millions of people in Africa. The bureau projects that by 2010, some African countries will have a life expectancy of 30 years or less, numbers not seen since the early 1900s. The big wildcards in projecting future population are, one, how the world’s nations deal with the AIDS crisis, and, two, the effect of family-planning programs in poor countries.