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In 1950, the world population accounted for 2.5 billion. Today, it reaches about 6.5 billion. According to the updated projections of the United Nations ( Revision 2004- Medium scenario ), it will grow to 9 billion in 2050. Then it should stabilize and begin to decline after 2100.

Of course, these predictions bear some uncertainties about the future trend and the consequences of the growth yet to come. However we may posit that all the expected consequences will not represent a dreadful challenge.

However, there is one absolute certainty: The Islamic population will rapidly increase its share of the world population. The world population will increase by 2.5 Billion between 2005 and 2100. On this amount, the muslim countries will bring 1.75 billion ( 70% of the growth of population yet to come ). In 2005, Muslims represent 24% of world population ( One man out of four). This figure will attain 33% in 2050 ( One man out of three ). It could reach 37% in 2100 ( One man out of 2.7 ).

Instead of the Paul Ehrlich “population bomb”, we are yet experiencing an “Islamic bomb”. This phenomenon would mean serious consequences for many countries and notably for Europe.



There is a divide among demographers: Some people focus on the substantial population growth yet to come in most developing countries. Other are teaching that population will shrink in the next years. An examination of the past evolution and of some basic notions is necessary to understand the rapidly changing population problems of the 21st century.


111-The growth of European population

1-From 1000 to 1500, the world population grew very slowly. Firstly, the infant mortality was high and half the children died before 5. Secondly, the life expectancy was about thirty years on an average (Famine, plague, wars and so on). However, the fertility rate ( The average number of child births per woman during her childbearing age-15 to 49 ) was very high. During this period, a woman had 8 children, on average, by the time she reached the end of her childbearing years. Consider the next drawing (World population in million)


Years ---1000--- 1500--- 1750--- 1800--- 1910--- 1930

World----300---- 500----- 800----950--- 1750---2000

2-Between 1800 and 1900, more population was added than during the previous 800 years. This situation resulted of the drop of infant mortality due to technical progress: Vaccination, drugs, health care. Since the high fertility rate remained unchanged, the population began to grow in Europe which was the cradle of the technical revolution. Consider the newt drawing: The blue line represents the fertility rate which remains unchanged. The red line represents the mortality rate which is rapidly decreasing just after the technical revolution. The black arrow shows the population growth.


In 1750, the European population, including its settlements in the New World, was about 160 million (20% of the world total). By 1930, Europe and the New World (North and Latin America, Australia and so on) accounted for 786 million ( Nearly 40 % of the world total ).

112-The growth of developing countries population

1-In the second half of the 20th century, with the extend of the technical progress, a rapid growth of population occured in the developing countries. The world population doubled in 40 years (1950 to 1987). Consider the next drawing (In million).


Years--- 1950--- 1968--- 1975--- 1987--- 2000--- 2005

World--- 2500---3500---4000 ---5000---6000---6400

2-By this time people began to worry and recommended to reduce fertility. In the 1960s, the Club of Rome predicted that the world population would reach 12 billion in the year 2000. In his best-selling book of 1968, "The Population Bomb," Paul Ehrlich warned that such an exponential growth was unsustainable.

12-The decline of fertility rates

The world population only attained 6 billion by 2000 ( Half the Club of Rome's prediction ). This slow down resulted of a decrease of the fertility rates in all countries.

121-Decline of fertility rates in developed countries

The decrease began in the developed world: Europe, North America and Eastern Asia ( Japan, China ). Consider the next drawing which indicates the fertility rates per region.


Years------------- 50/55--- 60/65--- 70/75--- 80/85

Europe-------------2.66---- 2.58---- 2.16----- 1.88

Northern America--3.47---- 3.34---- 2.01----- 1.81

Eastern Asia------- 5.68---- 5.16---- 4.47----- 2.46

In Europe, the fertility rate fell under the level of replacement during this period ( A woman must bear an average of about 2.1 children per lifetime to replace her and her husband and to maintain the population ). A fertility rate below the level of replacement means that the population should decline: In 2005 the fertility rate in Europe is only 1.40 ( 1.20 in Italy! )

Clearly, a new technical progress: contraceptives, played a major role in the speed and the range of this fall.

122-Decline of fertility rates in developing countries

With a delay and a lower speed, the fertility rates began to fall in the developing countries. Consider the next drawing.


Years---------- 60/65--- 85/90--- 2000/2005

Africa----------- 6.81---- 6.11------ 4.97

Latin America--- 5.55---- 3.43------ 2.55

Asia -------------5.69---- 3.40-------2.47

The next drawing compares the fall of fertility rates in the developed and developing countries.


In developed countries, the fertility rate ( The blue line ) falls rapidly and stabilizes below the mortality rate (red line). As a result, the population ( The black curve ) begins to decline. In developing countries, the fertility rate declines more slowly and presently remains above the mortality rate. As a result, population continues to grow but is expected to stabilize before 2100.

Two facts confirm the trend: Firstly, the yearly growth rate of the population reached its peak in 1963 with 2.19% ( That is to say a doubling every 35 years ). It has fallen to 1.13 in 2004. Secondly, the annual added population peaked in 1989 with 87 million. It fell to 73 million in 2004.

13-Impact of population momentum

Nevertheless, 3.5 billion have been added from 1950 to 2005. Despite the fall of fertility rates, we observe a continuous growth of population. To explain this paradox, we have to introduce a new complex notion: the "population momentum".

-Firstly, let’s suppose that we have a population of 100 persons in T1: 50 women and 50 men. The fertility rate is 8. It means that these 50 women "produce" 400 children (200 women and 200 men). Now, the 200 women reduce their fertility rate to 4 in T2. Nevertheless, they will have 800 children (400 women, 400 men). Then, each next generation reduces its fertility rate ( To 3, 2, 1.5 and finally 1).

-Secondly, we suppose that each generation dies in the next period. For example, the 100 persons in T1 decease in T2 and so on.

Now consider the next drawing (In red, the negative figures).


Period---------- T1--- T2--- T3--- T4--- T5---- T6---- T7

Fertility rate----- 8---- 4-----3-----2--- 1.5----1------ 1

Female----------50--- 200-- 400-- 600---600---450--- 225

Male------------- 50--- 200-- 400-- 600---600---450--- 225

Annual receipt--100---400-- 800- 1200-1200--900---450

Death ---------------- 100-- 400-- 800--1200-1200- 900

Net receipt----- 100--- 300--400-- 400--- 0--- -300 -450

Cumulative-----100--- 400---800--1200--1200- 900--450
population (Growth)

Despite the fertility rate fall from 8 in T1 to 2 in T4, the population grows threefold between T2 and T4. This period represents the population momentum. The population only stabilizes in T5 and then begins to decrease in T6. It means that the growth of population in our present generation is not determined by the present fertility rate but by the fertility rate of the former generations. It’s also true when the fertility rate is rising.



Clearly, we have many evidences that the population should stabilize between 2050 and 2100 and will begin to decline after. However, there are a lot of uncertainties about this trend and its consequences.

21-Global projections

According to the updated projections of the United Nations ( revision 2004 ) and to its medium scenario, the world population will stabilize between 2050 and 2100. Go to and

Consider the next drawing (In million):


Years----------------- 2005--- 2030--- 2050--- 2100

Medium scenario------6464----8199-- 9075-- 9000

High scenario-----------6464-----8784-- 10696--18000

Low scenario ---------- 6464---- 7618--- 7679--- 5000

To explain this evolution the demographers use the demographic transition theory. It postulates that all nations will move to a fertility rate of about 2.1 children per woman (Replacement level). In accordance with the theory, the medium scenario predicts 9 billion in 2005 and 2100. Go to and the read the article about the "transition in world population".

There could be an higher increase as indicated by the "high" variant UN projection: If worldwide fertility would drop to only about 2.6 children, we would have a global population of 10.5 billion by 2050 and 18 by 2100. On the contrary, the U.N.'s "low variant" projection is based on 1.6 children ( It is yet the current rate in the developed nations ). It should mean a decline of population ( 5 billion in 2100 ).

22-Detailed Projections

We have checked for you the detailed fertility rates by regions and by countries. In short, we can say that the recent evolution tends to confirm the medium scenario. We have just made some adjustments explained below.

1-Regarding Europe and the Eastern Asia ( Japan, China, Koreas and Mongolia ) we have chosen the lower projection because the medium supposes an increase of the fertility rate between 2005 and 2050. We do not see any reason for this increase except to justify the theory about the convergence!

2-Regarding South Central Asia ( India, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka ), we have adopted the higher variant for Pakistan and Afghanistan due to their present fertility rate ( Respectively 4.27 and 7.48 in 2005 ).

3-Regarding Western Asia ( The Middle East ), we have adopted for the same reason the higher variant for Iraq, Saudi and Yemen ( Respectively 4.8, 4 and 6.2 in 2005 )

4-Regarding Northern Africa, we have chosen the higher variant for Sudan (4.45 in 2005)

5-Regarding Sub saharan Africa, we have chosen the high variant except for Southern Africa for which we have chosen the lower variant ( HIV disease ).

6-For 2100, we have kept the medium variant for all countries.

Globally, these changes do not impact the gross result. Consider the next drawing (in Million)


Years---------------2005-------- 2030---------- 2050-------- 2100
-------------------------------UN---- FWA----- UN-- FWA

Europe--------------- 728----- 698----- 651----- 653-- 556------ 536
North America-------- 330----- 400----- 400----- 437-- 437------ 473
Latin America--------- 561----- 722----- 722----- 782-- 782------ 726
Oceania--------------- 33------ 42-------42------ 47----47------- 49

Sub total------------1652---- 1862---- 1815---- 1919-- 1822---1784

Eastern Asia--------- 1524---- 1655---- 1542---- 1586--- 1338--- 1340
South eastern Asia---- 555----- 700----- 700------ 752----752---- 730
South central Asia----1610---- 2197---- 2217----- 2495---2556--- 2460
Western Asia----------214------318----- 328------ 383--- 410----- 445

Sub total------------3903----4870---- 4787----- 5216---5056-- 4975

Northern Africa-------- 190-----269----- 272------- 311---- 323--- 307
Sub saharan Africa ---- 751----1248---- 1320------1691--- 1927-- 1931

Sub total--------------941 ---1517---- 1592------2002---2250-- 2238

Gross total-----------6496--- 8249---- 8194------9137---9128-- 8997

This drawing shows some evolutions in the share of the different regions:

1-The share of Europe will fall from 11.2% in 2005 to 6% in 2100.The evolution of the main areas of Europe is given below:


Years------------------- 2005------ 2030---- 2050----- 2100

Russia, Ukraine
Belarus and Moldova----- 203-------- 158------121------- 111
Balkans -------------------53--------- 45------ 36-------- 27
Europe-25--------------- 472-------- 448----- 399------- 398

Total------------------- 728-------- 651----- 556------- 536

However, if we take in account North and Latin America + Australia, the share of “ethnic Europeans” attains 25% in 2005 and nearly 20% in 2100. It means that in 2100 "ethnic Europe" will have the same share of the world population as in 1750 (See above). Thanks to the growth of Latin america, the Latin descent ( Hispanic, Portuguese, French and Italian ) will increase at the detriment of Anglo Saxons, German and slav descent.

2-The share of Asia (60% in 2005) will diminish in 2100 (55%). Inside Asia, Indian, Arabs and Malays will increase at the detriment of Chinese.

3-The share of Africa (15.5% in 2005) will increase to 25% in 2050 and 2100. Sub saharan Africa will have an higher growth than any other region. ( Go to Africa ).

4-The ten most populated countries are/or will be (In million):

-2005: China (1315), India (1103), the European Union enlarged to the Balkans (525), the USA (298), Indonesia (222), Brazil (186), Pakistan (157), Russia (143), Bangladesh (141), Nigeria (131).

-In 2030: India (1449), China (1346), the European Union (493), the USA (360), Indonesia (270), Pakistan (262), Brazil (235), Nigeria (217), Bangladesh (205), Ethiopia (136).

-In 2050: India (1592), China (1392), the European Union (435), the USA (395), Pakistan (352), Nigeria (296), Indonesia (284), Brazil (253), Bangladesh (242), Ethiopia (194).

-In 2100: India (1458), China (1189), the USA (437), the European Union (425), Pakistan (409), Nigeria (302), Indonesia (273), Bangladesh (260), Ethiopia (222), Brazil (212).

23-Uncertainties and consequences

Are we sure that the fertility decline will continue in the developing countries? Are we sure that it will converge with those yet reached in the developed countries? Anyway, what could be the consequences of the population growth yet to come?


The main uncertainties are related to the demographic transition theory itself: Why should the fall of the fertility rate always follow the fall of the mortality rate? Why should all the fertility rates converge to the replacement level? Where is the magic wand which authorizes such predictions?

Regarding the mortality rates, the causes of the fall are obvious: Vaccinations and drugs crush the infant mortality and raise life expectancy: Firstly, everybody tries to avoid pain and death. Secondly, although vaccination is a western invention even the islamists are not preaching to forbid it ( Thanks to colonization, vaccinations were rapidly implemented in the developing countries ).

Regarding the fall of the fertility rate, the causes should be obvious too: Contraceptives and family planning are the drivers of the fall: There is a close correlation between the use of contraceptives and the fall of the fertility rate. Just consider the next drawing showing the percentage of married women using modern contraceptives in different regions.


World--China--North America--Latin America--Western Asia--Sub saharan Africa

-53%-- 83%------ 72%----------- 62%-------- 30%---------- 14%

Clearly, the regions with low contraceptive rates are those which more increase their population such as Western Asia and Sub saharan Africa ( Report to drawing 9 ). On the contrary, in China where compulsory contraception was effective, the fertility rates have declined from 4.2 births per woman in 1974 to 1.85 births in 1995. Go to

Nevertheless, there is a difference between the two technical process applied to mortality and fertility. Regarding mortality, there are compulsory vaccinations. So the technical progress plays like a mechanical fact. On the contrary, whatever education or wealth, the decision to use contraceptive finally depends on the social structure and cultural habits ( Go to Gender ). It means that you cannot project a constant fall of the fertility rate. Maybe, the fertility rate observed in some developing countries has yet reached a permanent level. Maybe, it will continue to fall. By the same token, we are not sure that the fertility rate will rise in the countries that are yet below the replacement level ( Such as Spain, Italy and Bulgaria with only 1.2 ).

Despite these evidences, many scholars contend that development ( Economic growth and urbanization ) is the best contraceptive! In fact, it does not seem obvious: In the olden times, the rich nobility favored larges families. In Muslim countries, the rich Saudi Arabs procreate much faster than the poor Turks. On the other hand, it's well known that urbanization should incite families to reduce their children number. However, it would be difficult to establish a real correlation between urbanization and the fall of fertility: For example Africa has the highest annual urban growth rate and the higher growth of fertility.

Why are these evidences neglected? Simply because many developing countries are opposed to contraceptives for religious reasons. Of course, the UN does not want to hurt them. It means that the demographic transition theory is not a science. It is just a wishful thinking with a politically correct background!


1-Consequences of the growth yet to come in developing countries.

Malthus postulated that the human population would grow exponentially while food production would increase linearly. In fact this notion based on the scarcity of natural resources is an out dated economic model. It is fruitless to repeat here what you have already learnt on this site ( See New growth theory ).

However, creativity remains limited to the West until now. As a result, many countries ( Notably African ) would fall in the Malthusian trap. Right now, some countries are experiencing rapid declines in the availability of natural resources ( Crop land or fresh water ). What is more, the increase of population in poor rural areas will boost deforestation. Clearly, it is more a political problem ( Democracy, creativity ) than a demographic one.

2-Consequences of the decline in developed countries

Between 2005 and 2050, the ratio of elderly persons to working age persons ( Aged 15-64 ) will double in more developed regions ( Notably Europe and Japan ). It is said that people are eroding the population base that should pay for their pensions in their old age. Third world activists suggest a massive immigration in order to restore an acceptable ratio between the working population and the pensioners. In fact, we just have to work longer and to compensate the weight of the pensions on the active population by a decrease of taxes ( See international migrations ).

It is also said that demographic decline could impede the economic future: Once again this argument is fruitless: Firstly, the belief that an economy needs a large worker and consumer base belongs to the same outdated theories as indicated above. Secondly, even with a zero economic growth, you can improve your income per capita: Since the population declines while the size of the cake remains constant, the number of dinners diminish and consequently each slice of the cake increases! Thirdly, as we have seen above, the expected decline of the European population would only be an adjustment, compared to the rapid growth occurring in the past. What is more, this decline would be a good new: Western Europe is crowded and less population will mean a better living and less pollution. Thanks to their creativity, a constant Gross Domestic product, and a limited population, the Europeans would enjoy the living standards of the ancient aristocracy.

Unfortunately, the vacuum could attract silent invaders and predators! Once again, it's a political problem and not an demographic or economic one.

In short, all these expected consequences do not represent a true challenge. In fact, there is only one absolute certainty: The Islamic population will rapidly increase its share of the world population.



Instead of the Paul Ehrlich “Population bomb”, we are yet experiencing an "Islamic bomb" with serious consequences for many countries. ( Go to which provides with the data in 2005 ).

31-Increase of the muslim share

The world population will increase by 2.5 Billion between 2005 and 2100. On this amount, muslims will bring 1.75 billion ( 70% of the growth of population yet to come ). Muslims represent 24% of world population in 2005 ( One man out of four). This figure will attain 33% in 2050 ( One man out of three ). It could reach 37% in 2100 ( One man out of 2,7). Consider the next drawing ( In million ): It shows the evolution of muslim population in the main regions.


Years------------------ 2005---- 2030---- 2050----- 2100

South eastern Asia-------388------ 510------564----- 572
South central Asia------- 321------ 507------671----- 677
Western Asia------------ 214------ 328------410----- 445
Northern Africa---------- 190------ 272------323------307
Sub saharan Africa-------228-------417------618----- 841
Minorities----------------241------ 330------ 395-----502

Total-------------------1582----- 2364-----2981---3344

------------------6496----- 8194-----9128---8997

The number of muslims is expected to double in South central Asia and in Western Asia and to rise fourfold in Sub saharan Africa. Some muslim countries will have exponential rates of growth until 2100. Yemen ( 21 million in 2005 ) will have 144 million by 2100! Niger, a poor country ( Today 12 million ) will get 98 million by 2100! (A larger population than Germany or Russia ).

The causes of this situation are well known:

-Firstly, the muslim countries led by Algeria have constantly been reluctant toward family planning and contraceptives ( Conference of Bucharest ). They stated that family planning was a Western conspiracy for reducing the power of the developing countries. This situation explains that the fall of the fertility rates happened later and less rapidly in muslim countries than in no muslim ( With similar level of income ).

-Secondly, many muslim religious leaders are opposed to contraceptives and this situation is not likely to improve with the surge of radical Islamism. Just consider the next drawing showing the five countries with the lowest percentages of married women using modern contraceptives ( In the world ) : All enjoy a muslim majority!


World----- Somalia---- Chad---- Niger---- Guinea--- Afghanistan

53% -------1%--------2%----- 4%-------4%--------4%

In the 1980, faced with the problems resulting from overpopulation, many Islamic countries like Iran, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Pakistan have officially promoted Family planning. Indeed, they have reduced the population growth ( Notably Iran ). However, there are some doubts about the sustainability of this process. Due to gender problem, many people tend to favor large families. Anyway, despite some recent declining rates of fertility, the population momentum remains very important and will matter until 2100.

32-Increasing Minorities and conflicts.

The drawing 12 also pictures the increase of the main muslim minorities notably in India, China, and Russia. Many evidences show that the rise of the muslim communities is faster than those of the other components in non islamic countries.

In India, the Muslim share of population has risen from 10 % in 1951 to 15 % in 2001. Indian complain that muslims do not follow the official family planning line because of their religious beliefs. In Lebanon, the Maronite Christians, who constituted a majority were reduced to a minority within a few decades. By now, their percentage is believed to have come down to 25%. In Bosnia, between 1961 and 1991, the Serbian percentage of the population declined from 43 % to 31 % while the Muslim percentage increased from 26 to 44 %. In Macedonia ( The land of Alexander the Great ) the Christians accounted for 90% of the population by 1900. Today, the Muslims constitute almost one-third of the population.

You may ask: Why does it matter? Religious worship depends on individual free choices and the increase of a religion is not a demographic topic. In fact, it matters because many examples show that an increasing muslim minority inside a no muslim country, may lead to a claim for secession and can culminate in a civil war. That has been the history of India, Cyprus, Lebanon, Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, the Philippines and today Thailand. For example, Lebanon became a Muslim majority country amidst a raging civil war: Nearly 5 million Maronite Christians migrated out of Lebanon within two years. The wars in the Balkans are also the outcomes of these rapid demographic changes. In Philippines and Thailand, the terrorism and its claim for a secession are also based on rising muslim communities.

Of course, it’s not a scientific law. However, we just observe that all these countries have endured the same scenario: When the Islamists are only a minority, they present themselves as victims and constantly complain ( Such as in India ). When this minority is growing and concentrating in some areas, some people begin to create troubles. Very often, they campaign for the secession of one part of the territory ( Such as in Thailand ). By the end, the unrest only ceases when they gain the entire majority over a country. In this case, they ask for the implementation of the islamic laws.

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