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Meeting the sustainable development goals leads to lower world population growth

Abel, Guy and Barakat, Bilal and KC, Samir and Lutz, Wolfgang (2016) Meeting the sustainable development goals leads to lower world population growth. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), 113 (50). pp. 14294-14299. ISSN 1091-6490

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Abstract

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.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Partial funding for this work was provided by the European Research Council Forecasting Societies' Adaptive Capacities to Climate Change ERC-2008-AdG 230195-FutureSoc and the Wittgenstein Award of the Austrian Science Fund Z171-G11.
Keywords: world Population, Scenarios, Sustainable Development Goals, female education, reproductive health
Divisions: Departments > Finance, Accounting and Statistics > Statistics and Mathematics
Departments > Sozioökonomie > Sozialpolitik > Demographie
Departments > Sozioökonomie > Sozialpolitik > Demographie > Wittgenstein Centre
Forschungsinstitute > Human Capital and Development
Version of the Document: Published
Depositing User: Gertraud Novotny
Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2018 12:26
Last Modified: 11 Jul 2018 12:35
Related URLs:
FIDES Link: https://bach.wu.ac.at/d/research/results/79539/
URI: http://epub.wu.ac.at/id/eprint/6403

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