By Elena Kovachich
The world’s population may reach 7 billion on October 31, when a baby is expected to be born in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, where a UN report on the current demographic situation in the world will be presented early next week. In an exclusive interview with the Voice of Russia aired on Friday, Igor Beloborodov, head of the Moscow-based Institute for Demographic Studies, gave his thoughts on the matter.
In 1999, the UN identified the baby boy born in Sarajevo in Bosnia as the world’s 6 billionth living person. In October 2011, the world’s population is most likely to rise to 7 billion, which Igor Beloborodov says is only natural.
“One billion is typically seen by an individual as a huge figure, Beloborodov says, adding that “this is a drop in the ocean” in terms of planetary dimensions. Back in the 1970s, he adds, scientists suggested that the world’s maximum sustainable population may stand at approximately 60 quadrillion – a figure that makes any speculation about the Earth currently being overpopulated irrelevant.”
All the same, many continue to insist that overpopulation is already an issue.
All these allegations hold no water and are out of line with the existing demographic trends, Beloborodov explains, citing the ongoing decline in the birth rate across the globe. With 42 percent of the world’s population still living in low-fertility countries, some pundits warn of the looming depopulation which is fraught with humankind’s self-destruction, Beloborodov goes on to say. In many countries, including China, women are not having enough children to ensure that each woman is replaced by a daughter who survives to the age of procreation. So the nations’ self-annihilation may well be on the cards, Beloborodov warns.
Speculation is rife, however, that the global famine may soon be on the horizon.
The real state of affairs, Beloborodov says, is as follows. Right now, an estimated one billion people are suffering from obesity, which, you know, is out of sync with the global famine-related fears. At the same time, I’m far from questioning the problem of sporadic famine in some regions in the world, where infrastructure is yet to be proved, Beloborodov says. But talking famine caused by overpopulation makes no sense, of course.
According to the UN, Russia is among ten countries whose population will become extinct in 800 years. Is it possible?
This forecast is out of line with reality, Beloborodov says, warning that the next 800 years may finally see the extinction of the entire mankind given the falling birth rates worldwide. As for Russia, its current 140-million-strong population is expected to reduce to 80 million in 2050, a critical figure that may well mean the country’s collapse.
In any case, Beloborodov warned against overdramatizing the situation, which he said must be duly improved. This will help Russia to stop a decline in its birth rate by 2065. “Right now, we are on the edge, and the ball is in our court, “ Beloborodov wrapped up.