Do scientists think the world can sustain the expected 21st century growth in population?

Saturday, September 12, 2020
By Allegra Taylor

Global population growth is expected to level off by 2100, when the world is expected to be home to about 10.9 billion people. Fears at various points in the last two centuries about the dangers of overpopulation have proved exaggerated. Food output has kept up, although access to food is uneven. With substitutions of plant-based alternatives for much meat and dairy, global harvests even at current yield levels could feed 9.7 billion people by 2050, according to Lancaster University researchers.

Human governance and consumption patterns and their impact on the planet‘s environment are more important to consider than absolute population size. “It is not the number of people on the planet that is the issue—but the number of consumers and the scale and nature of their consumption,” says David Satterthwaite, who studies urban poverty.

This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.
Between 2020 and 2022, under close editorial supervision, Gigafact contracted a group of freelance writers and editors to test the concepts for fact briefs and provide inputs to our software development process. We call this effort Gigafact Lab. Over the course of these two years, Gigafact Lab writers published over 1500 fact briefs in response to claims they found online. Their important work forms the basis of Gigafact formats and editorial guidelines, and is available to the public on Gigafact.org. Readers should be aware that while there is still a lot of relevant information to be found, not all fact briefs produced by Gigafact Lab reflect Gigafact's current methods and standards for fact briefs. If you come across any that you feel are out of date and need to be looked at with fresh eyes, don't hesitate to contact us at support@gigafact.org.