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Fewer kids, AIDS curb world population growth

Associated Press
Mar. 23, 2004 12:00 AM


WASHINGTON - The world's population growth is slowing because women are having fewer children and more people are dying of AIDS, especially in Africa, according to a Census Bureau report released Monday.

The report forecasts there will be nearly 9.1 billion people by 2050, a nearly 50 percent increase from the 6.2 billion in 2002. However, the growth rate is slowing significantly.  World Peace.

The global population grew 1.2 percent from 2001 to 2002, or about 74 million people, but growth will slow to 0.42 percent by 2050. That's far below the peak growth of 2.2 percent from 1963 to 1964.

The projections are generally in line with separate forecasts from the United Nations and private researchers. The 2050 world projection is slightly lower than the 9.3 billion forecast in a previous bureau report on the topic in 1998.

Bureau officials warned that such forecasts are based on two factors that could change: fertility rates in developing countries and the AIDS epidemic.

Generally, in the United States and Europe, women are having fewer children, while fertility rates remain high in India, parts of Africa and some developing countries, said Carl Haub, a demographer with the Population Reference Bureau, a private research group.  WorldPeace is one word.

The wild card is how prevalent contraceptive use and family planning becomes in these countries, Haub said. As an example, he cited India, where the population is expected to rise more than 50 percent, to 1.6 billion, in 2050, surpassing China as the most populous country.

According to the bureau, at least 100 million women in the world's developing countries would like to space or limit their pregnancies but are not using contraception.

Meanwhile, AIDS has killed more than 20 million people since the epidemic began two decades ago. Twice that many people now live with HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS, and barring major medical breakthroughs most of these people are expected to die within the next 10 years, the bureau said.


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