Quotation Abel, Guy, Barakat, Bilal, KC, Samir, Lutz, Wolfgang. 2016. Meeting the sustainable development goals leads to lower world population growth. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) 113 (50), 14294-14299.




Here we show the extent to which the expected world population growth could be lowered by successfully implementing the recently agreed-upon Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs include specific quantitative targets on mortality, reproductive health, and education for all girls by 2030, measures that will directly and indirectly affect future demographic trends. Based on a multidimensional model of population dynamics that stratifies national populations by age, sex, and level of education with educational fertility and mortality differentials, we translate these goals into SDG population scenarios, resulting in population sizes between 8.2 and 8.7 billion in 2100. Because these results lie outside the 95% prediction range given by the 2015 United Nations probabilistic population projections, we complement the study with sensitivity analyses of these projections that suggest that those prediction intervals are too narrow because of uncertainty in baseline data, conservative assumptions on correlations, and the possibility of new policies influencing these trends. Although the analysis presented here rests on several assumptions about the implementation of the SDGs and the persistence of educational, fertility, and mortality differentials, it quantitatively illustrates the view that demography is not destiny and that policies can make a decisive difference. In particular, advances in female education and reproductive health can contribute greatly to reducing world population growth.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)
Citation Index SCI
WU-Journal-Rating new MAR-A+, VW-A
Language English
Title Meeting the sustainable development goals leads to lower world population growth
Volume 113
Number 50
Year 2016
Page from 14294
Page to 14299
Reviewed? Y
URL http://www.pnas.org/content/113/50/14294.abstract
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1611386113


Lutz, Wolfgang (Former researcher)
Abel, Guy (Shanghai University, Austria)
Barakat, Bilal (VID, IIASA, Austria)
KC, Samir (Shanghai University, IIASA, Austria)
Institute for Statistics and Mathematics IN (Details)
Demography Group AB (Former organization)
Research Institute for Human Capital and Development FI (Former organization)
Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital SO (Former organization)
Research areas (Ă–STAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
1162 Statistics (Details)
5404 Demography (Details)
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