What can one actually say about world population?

a) In December of 1993, the world population was estimated at 5,543,000,000 inhabitants.

b) On the world scale, "growth has slowed: it was already but 1.7% in 1990 where as it had been 2.1% a year earlier; and the absolute number is going to decrease a little after the year 2000, having taken into account the drop in fertility already recorded in numerous developing countries. "1

c) The phenomenon of spectacular growth of population "occurred with an accelerated rhythm in countries of the South in the 20th century. This rhythm, however, has begun to drop, because world fertility began to diminish with a swiftness that is not negligible in the countries of the Third World: 6.1 infants a woman in 1962, around 3.8 infants a woman in 1990."2 Practically all over, the synthesized indices of fertility have dropped.


  1. Guy Hezlich, "Le couple population-développement", Le Monde, Dec. 14, 1993. Our emphasis.
  2. Gerard-François Dumont, "Révolutions démographiques", Le Spectacle du monde, n° 361 (April 1992) 80 f.

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