U.N. Cuts Estimate of Population for 2050

AIDS and Lower Fertility Rates Cited

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NEW YORK, MARCH 6, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The United Nations reduced its world population estimate for 2050 by 400 million, due to the AIDS epidemic and lower birthrates, the Associated Press reports.



About half of the 400 million drop is a result of an expected increase in the number of deaths, primarily from AIDS, according to the U.N. report cited by AP.

The U.N. Population Division projects that the other half of the drop is because future fertility levels in most developing countries will likely fall below 2.1 children per woman, the level needed to ensure the long-term replacement of the population.

In 2000, the United Nations projected a world population of 9.3 billion by midcentury. Its revision sets the new estimate at 8.9 billion.

A year before the United Nations released the first population estimate for 2050, the U.N. Population Fund proposed at a U.N. special assembly the extension of abortion rights for all countries -- including those that prohibit it constitutionally -- and adolescents' rights to access "reproductive health" services, including contraception and abortion.

The U.N. recommendation was based on its projections of a "demographic bomb."

In 1998, Archbishop Karl-Josef Rauber warned of a very different problem: aging. At a European population conference held in Budapest, he cited the seriousness of the continent's aging population.

"We will soon come to the point at which only a third of the European population is working full time, and they must absorb the costs of social programs of the two-thirds who are not working," the archbishop said.