Ten days ago the UN released the World Population Prospects 2010 Revision. According to projections presented in the report sometime today, the world population will pass the 7 billion person milestone. By 2024 the number of people living is predicted to reach 8 billion and by 2042 9 billion.
Much of this population growth will come from ‘high-fertility’ developing countries, 39 of which are African countries, nine Asian, six lie in Oceania and four in Latin America – while some European and East Asian countries are predicted to actually see population declines.
This ‘7th billion person’ milestone inevitably leads to questions about the earth’s ability to sustain continued increases in the human population. These 7 billion will, at the very least, require food, water and shelter; all of which are commodities in short supply. Estimates from another arm of the UN, the Food and Agriculture Organisation indicate that 925 million people are undernourished. 925 million people is ~13% of today’s population. If the situation is such that we are unable to adequately feed 13% of today’s population will the projected growth lead to some sort of Malthusian crisis?