Global population and United Nation’s development goals

A study estimates the effect of implementing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 on world population growth. The SDGs include providing access to quality education for all children, decreasing maternal and infant mortality, and increasing access to sexual and reproductive health care. To develop demographic scenarios that quantitatively reflect accomplishing the SDGs, Samir KC and colleagues generated a multidimensional model of population dynamics that stratifies national populations by age, sex, and education level. The demographic scenarios, which include variable levels of success of the SDGs, find that the world population would increase from between 8.8 billion and 9.1 billion by mid-century before leveling off and declining to between 8.2 billion and 8.7 billion by 2100. When compared to the 2015 United Nations’ population projection, the study’s population projections are lower, outside the 95% uncertainty range. Sensitivity analyses suggest that the United Nations’ population projection range is narrow, likely the result of uncertainty in baseline data, model assumptions, and a lack of possible future policy effects. According to the authors, achieving the SDGs could have a sizable effect on slowing global population growth.  

Article #16-11386: “Meeting the Sustainable Development Goals leads to lower world population growth,” by Guy J. Abel, Bilal Barakat, Samir KC, and Wolfgang Lutz.