The human population of Earth reached 1 billion in 1804, 2 billion in 1927, 3 billion in 1959, 4 billion in 1974, and 5 billion in late 1986. Last year on October 12th, 1999, the human population of Earth reached 6 billion. In my lifetime the population has doubled from 3 billion in 1959 to 6,034,213,000 today. This doubling of the population which occurred over the last 40 years will never come close to happening again.
The exponential growth of the human population peaked in 1987. That year 87.01 million more people were added to the Earth. Since 1987, the population has declined on average by 2.1 million fewer people added per year. In the year of 2000, the population will increase by 60.1 million people. If we maintain this 13 year average of 2.1 million fewer people added per year, we will peak in population reaching zero population growth in 2029 with 6.90 billion people.
The decline of the human population has been even more dramatic over the last 6 years. In 1994 we added 78.5 million more people, this year we will add 60.1 million. This is a decline of 3 million fewer people added per year. If we maintain this 6 year average of 3 million fewer people added per year, we will peak in population reaching zero population growth in 2020 with 6.64 billion people.
When demographers from the United Nations did their biennial update of world population numbers in October of 1998 they reduced their projected average population for 2050 from 9.4 billion to 8.9 billion. They also reduced their low number, saying we will reach zero population growth in 2038 @ 7.47 billion.
People that are somewhat aware of human population numbers are talking about the 8.9 billion in 2050. Some people are saying it will go higher and a few fool hearty cornucopians are still saying that our population is nearly limitless. All the while no one seems to be looking at nor talking about their low number which has constantly been reduced for the last 13 years. When the United Nations meets again this fall, the projected high, average, and low numbers will be reduced once again.
If you take a look at the 2 charts we have produced from the United Nations year by year population figures you can see the declines for yourself. Our population has been going down faster for the last 6 years than even their low numbers for reaching zero population growth in 2038 @ 7.47 billion.
This is shown by their low number for January 1, 2000, which is 6,027,534,000, yet on October 12, 1999, they said we reached 6,000,000,000. We could not have added 27,534,000 people in 80 days. We actually added 13,880,000 to make it 6,013,880,000 in the last 80 days of 1999. What this all means is we will reach zero population growth somewhere between 2020 @ 6.64 billion and 2029 @ 6.90 billion.
Perhaps the powers that be have an interest in keeping you thinking we can expand forever, implying that the Earth’s resources are limitless. Perhaps the capitalistic economic system that rules Earth does not want to let you know the truth about our crashing population and that we will reach zero population growth very shortly.
The true reason why our population is crashing is we have passed our sustainable limits for both of our major food energy sources, grains and fish, as well as very quickly reaching our freshwater limits. This awareness is not what the capitalistic economic system powers that be want you to know. It would be bad for their business.
Our crashing population is both good and bad. It is good because these numbers show the indisputable evidence of the collapse that has been underway now for the past 13 years. This is the ultimate wake-up call for Homo Sapiens. If there were ever a sign to take a long hard look at what we as a species are doing to all of the life-sustaining ecosystems on Earth, this is it.
On the other hand, this is bad because we have yet to recognize the alarming facts that for the last 16 years we have passed the sustainable food limits that Earth can produce relative to population. This plus our population is going down faster and faster each year for 13 straight years.
Meanwhile, 3.6 billion people are barely getting enough to eat with more than 1 billion of them in total abject poverty. And let us not forget that somewhere between 10 and 30 million children die every year of the worst possible death, starvation, and starvation-related diseases.
Why did the exponential growth of the human population peak in 1987? Why has our population been going down every year since? Why is our population declining more each year than the preceding one? Why is this crashing slowdown in our population happening? And why will our population reach zero population growth somewhere between the years 2020 and 2029?
In the following areas, you will find the major factors that have caused our population to peak in 1987 with 87 million more people added and decline on average by 2.1 million fewer people per year over the last 13 years.
Sustainability Of Soil Energy:
The rise in Grain Yield per hectare is slowing in all major grain-producing regions. Since 1984, grain output per person has fallen on average by .6 percent per year. In 1998, the per capita grain output further declined to 695 pounds, this is an 8 percent decline from the peak in 1984 when the per capita grain output was 755 pounds.
The slower growth in world grain harvest is due to the lack of new land and slower growth in irrigation and fertilizer use. Irrigated area per person, after expanding by 30 percent from 1950 until 1978, has declined by 4 percent. Since then the growth in the irrigated area has fallen behind that of the population. With biotechnology neither providing nor promising any dramatic breakthrough in raising yields, there is little hope for restoring growth in food output.
Sustainability Of Fisheries Energy:
The worldwide Fish Catch peaked in 1989 at 100 million metric tons. Since 1989, the seafood catch per person has fallen by 2 percent per year. Marine biologists at the Food and Agriculture Organization report that all 17 of the major oceanic fisheries are being fished at or beyond capacity. Nine are in a state of collapse.
Fresh Water Limits:
Since the amount of freshwater available for human consumption is constant, as the population grows, the supply of fresh water per person declines. As a result, the amount of water available per person is expected to decline by 74 percent between 1950 and 2050. Nearly half a billion people around the world face water shortages today. By 2025, the number is expected to grow to 2.8 billion people.
Of these, at least 1 billion people will be living in countries facing absolute water scarcity. Most overpopulated, fast-urbanizing countries of Asia, Latin America, and Africa have to survive on largely polluted rivers and wells. Water is a major carrier of disease-bearing germs. As many as 2.3 billion people in the world today suffer from diseases linked to water, such as dysentery, cholera, and typhoid. Less than 1 percent of the Earth’s water is fit and available for human consumption.
Family Planning For Women / Literacy Rates:
Successful family planning programs have led to many positive developments. Women’s literacy rates have gone up and they are now given a much greater role in the society of many countries. This has increased their knowledge of their reproduction cycles and bodies. As a result, as many as 75 countries from all regions of the world now have achieved replacement level fertility rates of 2.1 children per woman or less.
Infant And Child Mortality / Starvation And Its Related Diseases:
10 million children died before reaching their fifth birthday in 1998 and nearly 8 million of them did not reach their first birthday. About 98 percent of child deaths occurred in developing countries, with the least developed countries accounting for a third of all deaths under age five.
In the developed world, only eight out of every 1,000 newborn children died before they reached their first birthday in 1998; in the developing world, the number of deaths was 64 per 1,000 newborns. Infants in the least developed countries fared even worse, with 109 of every 1,000 newborn children dying before age one. Similarly, mortality under age five was seven times higher in developing countries and 12 times higher in the least developed countries than in developed countries.
HIV Infection Rates:
All industrial countries have held HIV infection rates of their adult populations under 1 percent but in some countries of sub-Saharan Africa, they have climbed above 20 percent. In Botswana, the adult infection level is 26 percent. In Zimbabwe, 25 percent, and in South Africa, 22 percent.
Countries with infection rates of 18 to 20 percent include Namibia, Swaziland, and Zambia. Aside from raising mortality, the virus also reduces fertility. With new infections at the highest level in the 15- to 24-year age group in sub-Saharan Africa, many young women will die before they complete their childbearing years. In addition, as the infection progresses toward full-blown AIDS, ovulation often ceases, reducing fertility further. In 1981, there were 200,000 new infections; in 1998, there were 5.8 million new infections. Preliminary data indicate a far bigger jump in 1999.