Sources and further reading:
For most of our history, the human population grew slowly. Until new discoveries brought us more food and made us live longer. In just a hundred years the human population quadrupled.
This led to apocalyptic visions of an overcrowded earth. But the population growth rate actually peaked in the 1960s. Since then, fertility rates have crashed as countries industrialize and develop. World population is now expected to balance out at around 11 billion by the end of the century.
But the big picture conceals the details.
Let us look at one region in particular:
Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2019 it was home to a billion people living in 46 countries. Although its growth rate has slowed down in the last few decades, it is still much higher than in the rest of the world.
While some projections expect around 2.6 billion people others reckon with up to 5 billion by 2100.
Such growth would be a huge challenge for any society. But Sub-Saharan Africa is also the poorest region on earth.
So is Sub-Saharan Africa doomed? And why do the projections vary by 2.4 billion people?
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