World population to reach 9.6 billion by 2050

NEW YORK. July 15. KAZINFORM As of Thursday, which the United Nations has declared World Population Day, there are 7.2 billion people and counting on planet Earth.

By 2050, demographers from the United Nations project that the population will reach 9.6 billion.

But that projection has changed considerably in recent years. In 2000, the UN predicted a population with 700 million fewer people than it is predicting now-only 8.9 billion people in 2050.

Other organizations, meanwhile, have slightly different 2050 projections. The United States Census Bureau projects a population of 9.4 billion. The Population Reference Bureau, a nongovernmental group that tracks U.S. demographics, has increased its projection by two million since their last estimates were published in 2010; their number now matches the UN estimate.

What explains why these figures evolve and why they don't exactly sync up?

Population projections are dynamic. While they are often reflective of the real world, many factors that determine future trend lines are unclear and evolving.

Three big population drivers

In predicting future population size, demographers first assume a no-surprise future and focus on three main drivers of population-births, deaths, and migration. Life expectancy is kept on a consistent upward trend, and unpredictable events like epidemics and wars are ruled out.

"The HIV/AIDS epidemic-it was not predicted, and it substantially changed the demographics of some countries in the 1970s," said Francois Pelletier, chief of the population estimates and projections section of the United Nations.

When it comes to analyzing the three big population drivers, demographers draw on surveys and census data from around the world. The UN also takes into account progress made in achieving internationally agreed upon initiatives such as the Millenium Development Goals.

That information is used to reassess past population projections and generate a revised report.

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