Additional information on world population
The global population has risen dramatically in the last 100 years from 1.65 billion in 1900 to surpassing 7 billion in 2011. The most significant driver of this population change has been the reduction of global mortality rates. Scientific research and well organized health policy implementation have ensured that epidemics such as the HIV/AIDS epidemic can be combated more effectively to save the lives of those at risk. Declining infant mortality rates are a triumphant example of health improvements, especially in North Africa and the Middle East. Infant mortality rates have also declined in more economically developed countries such as the United States.
China and India are now the most populous countries in the world, together accounting for over one third of the world population. Recent trends suggest these countries will continue to have high fertility rates until they reach a higher level of economic development. The trend of fertility rates below 2.1 per women, the rate considered to be necessary to retain the population level, is evident in developed countries such as Singapore. However, countries such as Singapore can retain their population level through increased immigration rather than increasing fertility rates.
Some critics have argued that the issue of population rise should regain a prominent place in the international political agenda. Recent studies including a 2014 study at the University of Washington have placed doubt on the claim that the global population will peak at 9 billion around 2050. The issue is important as growing populations place higher strain on both natural and public resources including healthcare and education.