Sep 19, 2014 11:38 PM EDT
Well politicians and the rest of the masses may be surprised, because it appears the largely infallible statisticians have revealed a chink in their armor: the world population estimates. With the possibilities of famine and disease, aside from the random acts of mankind, human population estimates are values calculated with a menagerie of variables. But with the ever-changing landscape of the planet Earth, and the growing populations of nearly every nation, it turns out that the Earth can expect a few billion more guests before humanity comes to its peak.
At the turn of the 21st century, many researchers thought that global population, which today roughly adds up to 7 billion people worldwide, would peak at 9 billion before falling off towards the tail end of the century. But the faulty projections failed to properly account for the second largest contributing continent to the human population: Africa. Assuming that birth rates would slowly abate as women's access to contraceptives and education improved, the models have failed in recent years though many experts cannot explain the continued influx of individuals.
"The U.N. in the past has been criticized for not doing complete statistics on their data and now they've done it exactly right" demography researcher and vice president of the Population Council of New York City, John Bongaarts said.
In a new collaborative analysis formulated by the United Nations (UN) and the University of Washington, Seattle, researchers have revealed that the world population may not only continue to rise throughout 21st century, but exceed 13 billion humans before reaching carrying capacity on the Earth. Developing statistical equations based on historical and real-time data, statisticians at the University of Washington led by senior author of the paper published in the journal science, Adrian Raftery were able to not only give rise to a single statistical outcome, but also a wide range of possibilities based on the ever-changing factors of man.
"Experts are pretty good at knowing where things generally standing with these rates, but what they don't seem to be good at is integrating the newest data into future estimates in the right way" Raftery says. "The combination of a new method that's not based on assumption but is based directly on data, and also the new data on Africa, have combined to make quite a big change to the overall population projections."
So what's the likelihood of the population boom we'll seen in our lifetimes? The researchers confirmed to the journal Science, that there is a 95% likelihood that the global human population will reach between 9 billion and 13.2 billion by the year 2100, with over 4 billion expected to come from new calculations of the boom in Africa.
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