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Population Growth

Reality: A soaring population. Reality check: Food, water and poverty Add to ...

Monday marks the birth of the world’s seven billionth baby, according to the United Nations.

In all likelihood, that child will probably take its first breaths in a city in a developing country, where projections say the majority of new children will be born.

Thomas Malthus, an English scholar, painted a gloomy picture in 1798 when he wrote that unchecked population growth would condemn us to widespread starvation. “The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man,” he said.

Over the last 200 years, technological innovation has warded off that doomsday. And yet food security is a major concern for many policy makers. To feed the nine billion mouths predicted by 2050, food production will have to increase by 70 per cent, the UN estimates. Water is becoming scarcer where it is needed most, the poor will remain hungry and birth rates will remain high in developing countries.

While it might not come down to a fight for the last barrel of oil or sip of water, these figures draw a sobering picture of what still needs to be accomplished.

Read the infographic for more information on worldwide demographic shifts, environmental pressures and population growth.

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