11 Billion People…?

By the year 2100, the world’s population will be nearly 11 billion people.

That’s an astounding number to contemplate.

Of course, it is a projection not a fact, and it is based off of a set of assumptions made by the United Nations. But assuming those assumptions are sound and the projections are close to correct, here are a few things we can expect the next century to bring, according to this United Nations report and supporting data:

Total world population in 2100:  10.85 billion

Most populated nation:  India, with 1.55 billion people

Top ten nations (see map of projections here):

  1. India, 1.55
  2. China, 1.09
  3. Nigeria, 914 million
  4. United States, 462 million
  5. Indonesia, 315 million
  6. Tanzania, 276 million
  7. Pakistan, 263 million
  8. D.R. Congo, 262 million
  9. Ethiopia, 243 million
  10. Uganda, 205 million

The most striking feature of this list is that five of these most-populous countries are in developing areas of sub-Saharan Africa. According to the UN report, some of the most rapid population increases are expected in the world’s least developed nations.

Thus, one challenge for the world community over the next century is going to be how to cope with a surge in population in areas where government and infrastructure may not be equipped to handle it. Another challenge, of course, will be finding ways to make the finite resources of this planet accommodate such a massive human presence. These are problems where well-trained engineers with broad-based education and experience, creativity and insight will be able to make a tremendous difference in finding solutions.


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