The UB population projection of 11.2 billion for 2100 is only the middle of the medium scenario for the UN. The UN has been revising its population projections upward from 9.5 billion to 11.2 billion from projections made in 2000 to 2017. The 95% range of the medium projection is from 10 billion to 13 billion. The UN has been revising population projections upward because they have an assumption that African birthrates will trend downwards like in Asia and that has not happened. The UN high population variant has a midpoint of 16.5 billion and constant birthrate population for 2100 is 25 billion. African birthrates can impact the population in 2100 easily by 2 to 5 billion and as much as 14 billion.
If the world population had or was able to mimic the health of Asian Americans and had increased wealth and education levels to match Asian Americans in the USA (current life expectancy 87 for Asian Americans) then world life expectancy goes from 72.6 to 87. This would be a 15-year life expectancy boost for 12 billion people. 11.2 billion is the latest UN projection to 2100. I expect at least 0.1 to 0.2 upward family size adjustments from Africa. Family size shrinking will not be as fast as the UN projection.
But the assumption of UN population forecasts is world life expectancy goes from 72.6 to 81.6. If life expectancy goes from 87 and not 81.6. 12 billion divided by 70 about 170 million people at each age with roughly even distribution. This means 900 million more people. 13 billion just from getting to an achievable and proven level of lifestyle health. Add in metformin, senolytic drugs (get rid of badly functioning older cells). The distribution of people who get life extended and are alive in 2100 are those born from 2010 to 2020 (80-90 years old)
Add 10 more years to 97 life expectancy with better drugs, medicine then that is 1.7 billion more people. This would be 14.7 billion. Those people would mostly be those born from 2000 to 2010.
If there is radical life extension by 2100, where people are living to 150. This would mean many people born and still alive from 1950-2000 would still be alive. The number of people who get those treatments by 2040 would be half of those born from 1950-1960. If the radical antiaging treatments are just like frequent vaccine injections then deployment would be faster than the deployments of treatments for AIDS. This would mean distribution over twenty years instead of 40+ years. This means about 3-4 billion might still be alive who would not have been. This would mean a population of 18 billion.
There are thousands of early adopters using antiaging drugs. This could boost lifespans to 95 or more. Seventh-day Adventists just follow a healthy diet and lifestyle and are able to have 7 more years of life expectancy.
There are drug and treatment candidates for all categories of aging damage at various phases of clinical trials.
Feeding the People is Trivial
If the world follows France’s rules around dealing with food waste from supermarkets and restaurants then the world can feed 2 billion more people. Feeding 10 billion in the world by 2050 is doing what we are doing now and deeply discounting the food at supermarkets one week before it expires and reducing waste and spoilage from the farm and in the supply chain.
The fear of world starvation story resonates with deep caveman fears of starvation. Any individual person can experience hunger. This reinforces and validates the fear of potential starvation.
USDA recommends that adults eat 5-6 ounces of protein daily, avg person will eat 10 ounces of meat and poultry each day in 2018. 30-40% of food is wasted in the US. UK rationing during WW2 was 4-8 ounces of meat per week or about 1 ounce per day.
This means 20-30% underproduction would barely be noticed. Prices would go up on certain items which would shave demand. Eventually, this would trigger simple policies to reduce food waste. 10-20% gains from food waste reductions are relatively easy. This is so unimportant that most places do not bother. With a bit more time, an adaptation to 50-60% less food could be handled without people feeling like they are sacrificing. 90% reductions would be more like UK rationing.
Nextbigfuture addressed the wrong thinking involved in overpopulation fears.
Going to the Less People Solution is Wrong
The doomers answer to everything is get rid of the people. Having the answer of getting rid of people is stupid, sad and useless.
The other guy you try to get rid of will not say ok sure.
Mao in China caused the deaths of tens of millions. Stalin and Hitler killed tens of millions. Those things did not cause a year when the population of the world went down.
Food production is increasing by a lot. The productivity of agricultural land will triple by 2030-2040. This not magic. Dozens of hectares with higher productivity are being grown now. China and other nations will scale them up.
This is all before going to building a lot of greenhouses which can boost productivity by 10-30 times. This is before the possible success of factory grown meat. Factory grown meat is now sold in restaurants. People pay more for meat at high-end restaurants. It can be made to taste better. Is it unnatural? People did not ask those questions about chicken nuggets. People love those things and nuggets are a meat slurry mix of meat pieces and corn.
Factory grown meat can boost food productivity by 10X in terms of energy and water.
So we already have 2 to 3 times the food than we really need. The world can drop by 10 times and get by. Food production will go up 3 times within 20 years using business as usual agriculture. There is an option to use greenhouses on a larger scale for 30 times more food. Dedicated skyscrapers for greenhouses can boost food produced in a spot by 100X beyond greenhouses.
Factory produced meat can increase food production efficiency in terms of energy and water by 10X or even 100X.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.
24 thoughts on “Population Projections Out to 2100 and Adjusting for Longevity”
Greenhouses can address that. And there are crops that don’t mind a bit of cold. Winter rye is a popular choice.
When I was in second grade the hamburger at school was half soy (or some fraction). They did not say anything, I recognized the taste later. I liked it better. At the grocery it is either hamburger or veggie, but there is room for something in-between. At the moment, it might be hard to find who would want it, just looking at the packaging, but with samples and getting the ratio right, I think a lot of people would like it…especially if the price is lower.
Not really the point… the point is how massive the amount of arable land Russia has, which is around 123,000,000 hectares as of 2016. For the same year, the US had 152,262,500 hectares, which is certainly more, but just shows even with schitty Siberian winters covering most of Russia, their land mass is so big, that they still have a lot of arable land.
You could be 2 years old and you won’t see it in your lifetime.
the climate there is mostly crappy.
The UN has an amazing track record for predicting demographics in the past, but is still using many obsolete assumptions and models from several decades ago. The population will more likely begin falling later in this century and, short of Brave New World-style creches, may never go up again.
I don’t really expect a lot of creches though, as they would likely only occur in politically backwards places, and because AI will expand to fill the gaps (The Naked Sun by Isaac Asimov showcasing a society that has gone beyond extreme, now suddenly less strange after Covid-19).
For a thoughtful look on why the UN figures are likely out of date, check out Empty Planet by John Ibbitson and Darrell Bricker.
I live in EU
As if and when we will reach 99% automation, time will tell and if you’re not older than 60, healthy and lucky, you should see it yourself
“What other solution you propose, if 99% of jobs will be automated, including even domains such as music, movies, art creation (some primitive AI’s already have some decent results and it only will get better), scientific research. ”
Well, I don’t buy your argument. 99% of the jobs won’t be eliminated by automation. Automation really helps at scale, but is overly expensive for small business operations.
“Keep in mind that world is not just US, I am sure that governments of China, EU and many others will implement UBI sooner or later and also will tax rich heavily.”
Good, then you can move there instead of using propaganda persuade people vote for a new scheme meant to force me to pay you to sit on your butt.
The higher the population the higher the chance of something crashing. Something natural, man made or both.
over 15 billion? and we still struggle with global warming? this meme says it best:
You laugh, you have fundamentally different view, I get it
On the other side, I laugh when people think that current system, where top 1% has more wealth than rest, somehow have future. Keep in mind that world is not just US, I am sure that governments of China, EU and many others will implement UBI sooner or later and also will tax rich heavily. They will be taxed very high, yes but ultimately still will have many times more wealth/power than regular UBI receivers, so there will be incentive to innovate and be entrepreneurial for people. Economy will be much larger, so even with 90% tax, they still will be billionaires in todays $
What other solution you propose, if 99% of jobs will be automated, including even domains such as music, movies, art creation (some primitive AI’s already have some decent results and it only will get better), scientific research.
This all is only short term (20-40 years or so)
In future or after singularity when nanoreplicators will be invented, super cheap access to resources in space and super fast space travel achieved all this will be solved instantly.
I’m literally laughing out loud at you right now.
Businesses have owners, and owners buy equipment to get a job done. It is they who would buy robots and use AI to increase productivity. This is no different than today with current technology, and they’ll only do so if there’s a business justification to do so.
Are you going to start taxing businesses more for efficient production lines, or is it going to be a blanket tax on businesses to support your schemes?
I can already see the unintended consequences. What was only meant to address robotics and AI could suddenly include numerous pieces of hardware and software used in business that had been used for decades. This could be justified by arguing that the tech necessarily cost someone a job.
The fact is, you’re advocating for more people living on the backs of fewer and fewer producers, and that will only bring about a worse economic disaster than the one the United States already faces. In fact, practically every single western industrialized nation has a debt problem tied intrinsically to just such schemes as the UBI.
It’s really funny, I’m old enough to remember economists arguing that heavy social spending and high debt loads by a government undermines spending power, and would cause the middle class to stagnate. You’re advocating for more of that.
The best way to deal with automation and AI is the creation of more small business creation, because THAT is the driver of job creation in the United States.
The problem is usually a lack of money to buy food vs an actual shortage of food. Supply is calibrated to match demand else you cannot get a good price for your product. You cant just produce more food unless the public interest controls that production.
Robots have owners, wealth creation will be taxed and money in form of some kind of UBI paid to all people
As well as Australia… Canada… or Russia… Actually, Russia probably has the most undeveloped arable land, but I might be wrong.
No… it won’t… You’re confusing productivity with producers… or better put, workers. Workers pay taxes which goes into social programs. Robots and algorithms don’t get paid and thus that necessarily entails raising taxes on the producers who are left in the workforce.
OK, what’s the source of this data? The following link to UN population charts don’t show that wide a range at all… (Lots of interesting ways to view population data there, btw.)
Automation/ Narrow AI’s will solve this problem
In a few decades (being very conservative) developed countries could easily support current economic output with 10x less working people. Being less conservative it could happen in around 15 years or even 10 – if businesses start investing in automation and AI now, and increasing investments significally each year
Thanks to technology advances, output will be much bigger than today, with orders of magnitude less working people around
How does one support high birth-rates? I’m asking for a friend.
We’ll grow the food & there’s lots of room – try driving across the U.S. once or twice; it’s mostly empty.
And the unlimited resources & energy of space are soon to become available.
Triple productivity of agricultural land? Maybe in places that currently don’t rely on high-energy chemical inputs. But those are likely to be less-developed nations.
So – a lot more fossil fuel inputs and CO2 and methane releases? Build out a huge amount of renewables or nuclear power? – Who is going to pay for that? The less developed nations that might most benefit from increased high-energy agriculture (and who would need to do it) have limited ability to expand exports.
Possibly they could jump directly to greenhouses. Those would somewhat substitute labor for energy inputs – e.g. for controlling pests. Maybe they could develop safe processing of human and animal waste, to recycle most of the mineral content taken from the soil for food – but done poorly that’s a recipe for disease, and it probably doesn’t recover enough nitrogen – which takes them back to the energy input problem.
Western liberal democracies use their current working population to support the population that can’t support itself due to retirement or other circumstances. It is incumbent on those nations to assure it has a base of producers large enough to support the non-producers, thus very important that they have birth-rates high enough to replace the current work force when it retires.
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