Population growth will be a major force shaping the next half century, with 99% of this growth happening in developing world. 90% of growth will occur in the poorest countries. At the time of the Bixby Forum there were 6.7 billion people in the world. Today (2014) that number has risen to 7.2 billion. The UN’s medium level projection for 2050 has also been raised from 9.2 billion in 2009 to 9.72 billion. These increases are because of stalled fertility decline in many fast-growing countries. This situation presents major challenges for economic and social development, health, natural resources, and social conflict. To address these issues, Berkeley’s Bixby Center for Population, Health and Sustainability hosted, in collaboration with the Bixby centers at UCLA and UCSF, an international forum titled The World in 2050: A Scientific Investigation of the Impact of Global Population Changes on a Divided Planet. In addition to the implications of the projected population growth, the participating experts from the US, Africa, Asia and Europe recognized the vast and well documented unmet need for voluntary family planning in all of the countries with high average family size and rapid population growth. The papers presented at the forum are published as a special issue of the Philosophical Transactions B (Biological Sciences): The Impact of Population Growth on Tomorrow’s World, a publication of the Royal Society, London with a forward by Professor Malcolm Potts at University of California, Berkeley,and Professor Roger Short of the University of Melbourne.
The Forum concluded:
“Increased access to family planning will make it easier for countries with rapidly growing population to expand education. Education, in turn, particularly of women, makes an important contribution to fertility decline and a crucial contribution to development. However, rapidly growing countries cannot always expand education fast enough to keep pace with the growing number of children each year.”
The full proceedings of the Forum are webcast by the Population Reference Bureau at Fred H. Bixby Forum: The World in 2050
In addition to the webcast we are making the powerpoints used by the presenters accessible. Some are self explanatory, although others will require the webcast to be fully understood.
You can read the Summary Statement from the Bixby Forum here