The Best Ten
Population information resources




United Nations Population Projections

The United Nations is the origin of all world population projections. To make sense of the various projections, read the "assumptions" page. Note in particular the 4 main "variants" - low, medium, high, and constant fertility. The most widely quoted number in the popular press is the "medium variant" (9.2billion by 2050).

But do not dismiss the constant-fertility variant - which assumes fertility and mortality remain as they are today. Under those assumptions, world population will almost double by 2050 to around 12 billion. Many arguments can be made that the constant fertility projection is as likely (if not more so) to occur as the "medium variant" projection.

For instance, in the assumptions of the medium variant projections, they say the following:

…in countries where fertility has stalled or where there is no evidence of fertility decline, fertility is projected to remain constant for several more years before a declining path sets in.

(navigation note: the various "variants" are selected in a box at the bottom of the page)

Go to the panel 2 - detailed data screen (upper left) for more detailed breakdowns.



United States Census Official Population Projections

The United States Census Bureau creates its own population projections for the U. S.
(note: the tables are available in either Excel or CSV format)

A fascinating factoid from these Census Bureau projections:

In 1996 they projected U.S. population in 2050 would be 392 million
In 2000 they projected U.S. population in 2050 would be 402 million
In 2004 they projected U.S. population in 2050 would be 420 million
In 2008 they projected U.S. population in 2050 would be 439 million

Do we see a significant trend here?



Global Footprint Network

The Global Footprint Network uses a science based metric - the Ecological Footprint - a resource accounting tool that measures how much "nature" we have, how much we use, and who uses what. On their website, they have available a comprehensive data table of the footprint of all of the countries of the world.

(navigation note: go down to the bottom of the page and click on "2008 data tables" for an excel spreadsheet.)



World Clock

A comprehensive, real-time table of misc. statistics. So - quit quoting inaccurate, random, factoids - get the real data here.



PRB - Population Reference Bureau

(From their website) PRB analyzes complex demographic data and research to provide the most objective, accurate, and up-to-date population information in a format that is easily understood by advocates, journalists, and decision makers alike.

Go spend an hour navigating around this site to understand all of the valuable resources that are available.




World Population Page - Wikipedia

Wikipedia actually has a very nice conglomeration of tables, graphs, and data at this site -a good basic reference resource.



American Association for the Advancement of Science Atlas
AAAS Atlas of Population and the Environment

Interactive, create your own atlas of almost anything you can think of. It takes a while to understand - read the instructions carefully, but very powerful.



The following websites have compiled various lists of articles, websites and resources:

http://www.cosmosmith.com/overpopulation_links.htm list of links
http://dieoff.org/ Scroll down for a very comprehensive list of articles
http://www.populationpress.org/essays/index.html list of articles
http://www.zpg.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=15&Itemid=19 a compilation of interesting factoids
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/worldbalance/resources.html a list of resources




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