This week the world’s population reached 8 billion people. It is a marvel to see how rapidly the world population has changed in the last seventy years!
The very brief video below (30 seconds) shows how population has increased from 1.5 billion in 1950 to a projected 11 billion in 2100. It took all of humanity’s history to get to 1.5 billion people in 1950, and then just 150 years to see it grow seven times that number. That is really amazing. By the year 2100, one in three people in the world will be Asian; one in three people in the world will be African; and the last third will be everyone else.
But as you watch the video, pay attention to what is happening in Africa. While almost every other geographic area in the world is decreasing in terms of population, Africa is growing rapidly.
When we ask people in Africa, “Is this a problem or an opportunity?” we are often met with a resounding, “This is a problem!”
To which we say, “People, made in the image of a working, creative God, are not the problem. They are the solution.”
But a few more facts yet. By the year 2100 (or now they are saying even sooner, 2080), the world population will begin to shrink. People are having less children and fertility rates are falling below replacement rates (think of two parents having two children – flat growth rate; once two parents have on average 1.8 children, declining population). And the world is getting older as there are less children being born and people are living longer.
The median age in the US is 38; in the UK is 43; and in all of Africa the median age is 17.
Where will we find the future work force? Where will innovation and creativity come from?
We see it coming from Africa. People, made in the image of God with creative capacity, solve problems. As populations grow, countries actually begin to flourish more, not less.
One of my favorite lines from the video series the Poverty Cure says this: “Human beings are not mere mouths. They are not like animals, getting up to search for their food every day. Human beings have been created for a much higher purpose. To take the world and move it forward.”
It’s time we stop seeing people as a problem. Let’s get excited about what problems will be solved and what flourishing will take place in the next seventy years. And watch out for Africa. They will be the leaders.