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Environment

Population Catastrophe Doesn't Await

August 10, 2009 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 87, ISSUE 32

A . Lee Smith writes about exponential world population growth and predicts that the global population will reach 12 billion in 2050 (C&EN, May 11, page 2). This is contradicted by U.S. and international agencies that report slowing population growth as a long-established consequence of improved standards of living among the largest countries in the world.

The Population Research Bureau (www.prb.org) forecasts a global population of 9.2 billion in 2050, and the United Nations in a 2004 study estimates 8.9 billion by that time. The U.S. Bureau of Census reports that the annual world population growth rate has been slowing since 1989, when it was 1.5%, and predicts it will decline to 0.5% by 2050.

Roger F. Jones
Broomall, Pa.

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