source: The Winston Dictionary, Advanced Addition, 1946.
This is an interesting graph, that I stumbled by. Notice, how world population tripled in the last 100 years. However, the industrialized regions only doubled, during this time, and is projected to level off during the next 50 years. Of course, this is only an assumption, not fact, as we're not there yet.
Some European countries populations are in fact in decline and Japan's population is expected to decline. Through better nutrition, education and medicine in the last 100 years, has enabled the population to grow older. Of course this drives down the rate of fertility. Just as infant mortality drives down the medium age within a population. This presents quite the challenge for certain countries to support this aging population in coming years.
Back at the old school house, the instructors insisted that any given land and it's natural resources can only support X amount of people in the long term. Their favorite example was here, the U.P. of Michigan. The population has virtually went unchanged in the last 100 years,(1900's), in this industrial/agricultural environment. The environment of the 1800's was much different and only supported a fraction of the present population. It was the power of fossil fuels in the 1900's that transformed the environment on this land. Within this time span, the economy has changed from timber harvest, to agricultural, (which was a failed experiment by the Federal Government), to tourism. Now, the forest somewhat resembles the forest that was found in the early 1900's. Also during this time, the population aged, in a two fold way, of those that stayed here are getting older and of those that had to move to support families have been replaced by people who are retiring here. This has drove down the fertility rate to the point the school system has been halved in student population since I went to school! So the population peaked in the early 1900's and has managed to stay consistent, riding a plateau for the last 100 years. This would suggest that the population level is at the maximum point, the land can support in this environment that depends on fossil fuels.
Back to the graph, most of the population expansion has come from developing regions, they are just now coming on line of being able to support larger populations. Again, through the use of fossil fuels is this only made possible. The population's medium age is much younger than that of industrialized regions, naturally making the fertility rates much higher. Most of these regions are 100 years behind those regions that were industrialized 100 years ago! To even further exasperate the problem is wealth is not more evenly distributed as it had been for earlier industrialized regions, making these people uneducated and poorer. Of course, this also inflates the fertility rate.
I have some very dire forecasts for many of these developing regions with higher populations, in coming articles.