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Steve Chiotakis: According to a new projection, the world’s population will surpass 7 billion by late 2011. That means we’ll have added a billion people in only 12 years — faster than expected. As Marketplace’s John Dimsdale reports from Washington, exploding growth poses some problems for the world economy.
John Dimsdale: In some places, the population is contracting. Families in parts of Europe and Asia aren’t having enough kids to replace themselves.
Carl Haub is the co-author of the latest projections for the Population Reference Bureau. He says in those countries:
Carl Haub: We will have something like less than half the number of workers per retiree. A worker today can look forward to working much longer years, possibly less of a pension, far fewer workers supporting retired citizens.
Haub says Scandinavia and France have turned around population declines with family-friendly tax incentives. But in poorer countries, growing populations are draining away scarce resources. Haub says those countries are already too dependent on foreign aid.
Haub: And I wonder if, as the developed countries have their own problems, how willing are they going to be to lend a hand to the developing countries who are actually going to need it more and more and more?
By mid-century, Haub predicts Africa alone will add another billion people.
In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.