Two hundred years later, by 1800, they had already doubled to reach 1,000 million. And after another two hundred years, in 2000, they had multiplied by six, reaching 6,000 million; although it is necessary to emphasize that in 1960 they were only 3,000, and the figure doubled in only forty years. Since then only fifteen years have passed, and we have already reached 7,260 million.
These are objective data measured scientifically. From here, there are different versions of how the population of the planet can evolve in the coming years.
As always, there are those who see the picture very black, and those who are more cautious. But neither of the two versions leaves us too calm. Some estimate that we will reach the figure of 10,000 million inhabitants in 2050 and between 13 and 15,000 million at the end of the century; and the most moderate, among them the UN, say that from now on it will grow at a slower pace, even reaching to a possible stagnation towards the middle or end of the century, to stay around nine billion for 2050, and between this figure and 11,000 million for 2100.
Apart from the global figures, the challenge will come from the distribution of population growth, since it follows different inertia according to geographical areas, which will greatly affect the effects on the planet. Some countries grow a lot (basically those in Africa and India), and others are stagnant. In some countries there is a very young population, and in others it is alarmingly old. And meanwhile, society is concentrating rapidly in large urban areas, and life expectancy is growing rapidly and quite generally.
Let’s stay with the version that we create most logical of each forecast band, but whatever it may be, we have before us a situation of overpopulation that, even in the most relaxed case, will be a huge challenge for the coming decades.