Al eeuwen wordt gewaarschuwd voor overbevolking. Geen van de voorspellingen is echter uitgekomen:
The world we live in now, despite approaching a population of nearly 8 billion, looks almost nothing like the one doomsayers were anticipating. Starting in the 19th century in Britain and reaching most of the world by the end of the 20th century, birthrates plummeted — mostly because of women’s education and access to contraception, not draconian population laws.
Daarnaast zijn data over bevolkingsomvang lang niet altijd even betrouwbaar:
In many parts of the world, population data is much less reliable. Countries can have incentives both to overcount (in regions vying to demonstrate increased need for aid, say) and undercount their populations (perhaps to disfavor a disliked minority group). Even without any efforts to manipulate the numbers, it’s expensive and challenging to accurately estimate populations.
De meest betrouwbare voorspeller, de VN, voorspelt een piek rond 2100:
So up to the present day, the UN has been highly reliable in predicting global population trends. Its prediction now is that the world population will continue to increase until 2100, when it will peak at 11.2 billion and then start declining.