As the 21st century approches, the news on global populatin in mixed. The fear decades past, that az exploding population would quicly outstrip Earth capacity to support it
, has subsided.Falling birthrates have sloved population growth, and there's good ghance that te world's populatin will level off in the next century. But that will be with several billion more people, and planet poulatin --5,9 billion and growing by more tahn 90 million a year--
as almost doubed since 1960.
Catastrophe amy or may not arrive, sayes population expert Joel E.Cohen, but one thing is certain: "What we get as we increase our populatin are incresingly difficult choices."
The environment and economic trade-offs we already face are sure to intesity.
Europe and Africa ar going in oppsite directions fast. With the highest biethrate of any contient,Africa has grown from 470 million people in 1980 to 763 million in 1998, and
it is projected to grow to tow billion by 2050.Women in sub-Saharan Africa bear an average of 6 children each: Euorpean women average 1,4 children, too few to replenish the poulatin,Europe is
projectedto shrink 12 percent by 2050, from 728 million to 638 million.