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Popul Bull. 1999 Mar;54(1):1-44.

World population beyond six billion.



This world report reviews population growth pre-1900, population change during 1900-50 and 1950-2000, causes and effects of population change and projections to 2050. World population grew from 2 billion in 1900 to almost 6 billion in 2000. Population showed more rapid growth in the 17th and 18th centuries. Better hygiene and public sanitation in the 19th century led to expanded life expectancies and quicker growth, primarily in developed countries. Demographic transition in the 19th and 20th centuries was the result of shifts from high to low mortality and fertility. The pace of change varies with culture, level of economic development, and other factors. Not all countries follow the same path of change. The reproductive revolution in the mid-20th century and modern contraception led to greater individual control of fertility and the potential for rapid fertility decline. Political and cultural barriers that limit access affect the pace of decline. Population change is also affected by migration. Migration has the largest effect on the distribution of population. Bongaarts explains differences in fertility by the proportion in unions, contraceptive prevalence, infertility, and abortion. Educational status has a strong impact on adoption of family planning. Poverty is associated with multiple risks. In 2050, population could reach 10.7 billion or remain low at 7.3 billion.

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