The Stream

How many people can the Earth sustain?

On Thursday, October 27 at 19:30 GMT:
The world population will soon exceed 8 billion next month, raising questions about how the growing number of humans will impact global issues like the climate emergency, biodiversity and economic inequality.

For some, talk of overpopulation raises anxieties about government population control methods. As Earth’s population approaches the 8 billion mark, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) encouraged nations to avoid “population alarmism” and instead focus on women’s empowerment and improving the quality of life for already vulnerable poorer communities.

According to a UN estimate, Earth could reach a peak population of about 10.4 billion people by the 2080s and stay at that level until 2100.

For now, the human population is growing at its slowest rate since 1950. In 2020, the global birth rate fell below 1%. Yet in the coming decades, the biggest population growth will come from developing countries that may face more challenges due to an imbalance between higher birth rates and available resources.

In this episode of The Stream, we’ll look at the sustainability issues posed by population growth.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Rachel Snow
Branch Chief of Population and Development, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

Jennifer Sciubba, @profsciubba
Author, “8 Billion and Counting: How Sex, Death, and Migration Shape our World”

Alex Ezeh, @aezeh
Professor, Drexel University