Population explosion demands thoughtful response

With the world’s population projected to reach a staggering 9.3 billion by 2050, it’s imperative that there be a thoughtful and vigorous response to the challenges posed by such demographic upheaval, says David Bloom, HSPH professor of economics and demography and chair of the Department of Global Health and Population.

In a syndicated commentary, Bloom writes that the world is likely to boost its population by almost as many people as populated the entire planet in 1950. Developing countries will suffer most, he predicts. Massive unemployment or underemployment could lead to suffering and catastrophe. Cross-country income inequality could deter international cooperation. The depletion of environmental resources could be accelerated.

Rich countries face their own set of problems, such as a surging proportion of elderly people in their populations, Bloom writes.

The challenges posed by the coming population explosion are surmountable, he says, but cautions, “It would be irresponsible to neglect those challenges and submit humankind, unnecessarily, to the great perils that we can already reliably foresee.”

Read the commentary on CNN

Learn more

World Population to Surpass 7 Billion in 2011 (HSPH release)