March 2012 | Statistics
On January 25th, a session of the International Economic Forum gathered in Davos, where the current global risks were discussed. The session found that many risks were direct results of the 20th Century Population Explosion, prompting the World Organization for Development (WOD) Analytical Information Service to conduct a study predicting how population growth would affect the quality of life on the planet.
Near the end of 2011, the world population officially reached seven billion people in what was a very quick demographic jump. It took 50 thousand years for the global population to hit 1 billion, but only 25 years to increase from 5 billion to 7 billion people.
Today’s population growth rate is impressive. On the African continent alone, the number of people is expected to double within the next 40 years, if not less. This statistic shows that there is an increasing amount of “poor” and “vulnerable” people on the planet.
According to predictions made by the UN, the world population will reach 8 billion in 2025, and 9 billion in the next 18 years after that.
Approximately 5 billion people on the planet (72%) live in middle-income countries, 1.1 billion (16%) live in countries with high incomes, and 800 million (12%) live in the world’s poorest countries, a number which is growing rapidly.New York, one of the worldrsquo;s poorest countries, a number which is growing rapidly.
In 2010, the world’s population increased by 77 million people – to put the statistic in perspective, the world’s population increased by more people than there are Russians in the world, in only two years.
The population growth is causing experts to think about humanity’s future, when the population in the world’s poorest countries will be significantly higher than in countries with middle or high incomes. While the population of so-called “rich” countries grew by only 0.6% in 2010, poorer countries experienced a growth rate of 2.1%.
Unemployment is one of the biggest problems facing the global community today. The problem was exacerbated during the 2008 crisis, and now, during these difficult economic conditions, the level of unemployment is one of the most important indicators to the welfare of any given country and its citizens.
Unemployment depends directly on economic phase “cycles”, but it is also a result of structural deficiencies.
China has the world’s largest employment rate nowadays, but since 2000, the country’s unemployment rate has been increasing and is currently above 4%.
Meanwhile, in African countries with very high population growth rates, unemployment rates remain high. For example, the Egyptian unemployment rate is around 10.5%, and in Ethiopia, the number is even higher at 20.5%.
The unemployment problem is aggravated by the continued growth of the world population – even at a stable unemployment rate, the number of unemployed people is steadily increasing. Statistics calculate the unemployment rate out of the potential workforce population, and when statisticians take the aging population into consideration, another progressively growing demographic, there are even more people not included in this category. This means that every worker with a job has an increasing number of dependents, reducing the overall level of income.
By the 1970s, human needs had already exceeded the resources that the planet could provide in natural resources. Now, according to environmentalists, the Earth can only produce what humans consume in one year over a year and a half.
Recent years have shown that around 25 and 20% of the world’s resources are used by the US and China, respectively. Other countries account for slightly more than half of the available resources. In the life of an average American, for example, he or she uses 3.5 times more material resources than another human on the planet, and consumes 9 times more than a person from India or almost any African country.
With the exponential population growth, the availability of resources such as food, water, and energy, is very important, both globally and in specific countries.
To support this conclusion, we have provided recent dynamics of food prices, showing a significant increase in the cost of food over the last decade.
Out of all the countries surveyed, Russia is the undisputed leader, followed by Brazil and the United States, in terms of available agricultural land and forests per capita. China and India do not rank as highly, mainly due to their high population density, but speaking objectively, China has twice the amount of agricultural land than Russia does.
When comparing the amount of grain produced per capita, the leader is the United States of America, followed by Russia. America’s high yields of grain can be explained by the extremely high productivity in the country’s agriculture. The “cereal” yields from the States is three times higher than Russia’s – and in terms of yield, Russia is far behind all the countries surveyed.
The diagrams, which show the water resources of different countries, contain data for Egypt, a region that constantly struggles with the availability of water – and it is likely that the situation will continue to get worse in the near future.
In terms of the availability of total renewable water resources, the leader among the countries surveyed was Brazil (with 8.2 trillion cubic meters per year), followed by Russia (4.5 trillion cubic meters per year). In India, the figure reaches only 1.9 trillion cubic meters per year, and Egypt only gets 57 billion cubic meters a year.
The largest amount of world oil reserves lies in Saudi Arabia and Venezuela – Russia is 8th on the list. And when looking at the amount of resources per capita, Kuwait is the leader, followed by the UAE and Qatar.
The world population growth is becoming a challenge for the governments of developing countries, which are facing the ensuing difficulties head-on. Developed countries are also looking for ways to deal with the situation, and they have the techniques, tools, and expertise to solve the problems associated with exponential population growth. To cope with the possibilities of food and raw material crises in the near future, the international community should support each other, and given the severity of these threats, the leaders of the world’s largest economies should pay no less attention to long-term solutions than to immediate relief from the second wave.
According to the WOD analytical information service