There is something about the year 2050 that is appealing to futurists, policy makers, and scientists alike. The year shows up in the title of hundreds of books, countless press releases, and news articles, as the year that things hit the fan. The predictions and estimates for the future tend to be heavy on fear mongering and doomsday thinking, which will not help build a solid future, and light on practical solutions or hope. Below is just a small sampling of some of the predictions from around the web for the World in 2050
The World Population will be Larger, and the Demographics will be different
- World population to reach 9.4 billion by 2050, India to clock 1.7 billion, and these will be the Most Populous Countries in 2050
- By 2050, 70% Of The World’s Population Will Be Urban. Is That A Good Thing? It can be a good thing if cities look like this, Smart cities: what urban life will be like in 2050, and have buildings can that breathe and adapt by 2050
- The U.S. in 2050: Bigger, younger, less white, less urban, with Minorities expected to be majority in 2050. A Pew Research Report noted that by 2050, 93% of the growth of the U.S. working-age population will be immigrants and their U.S.-born children. Similarly, immigration is soon to be Canada’s only source of population growth
- We Will Live Longer in 2050. According to the US Census Bureau: World’s 65 and Older Population Will Triple by 2050, while the UN warns of Dramatic aging trend by 2050, where senior persons 60 years and over will make up more than 80 percent of the population in developing countries.
- As we will live longer, we will also be faced with more health ailments, estimates suggest the Number of Alzheimer’s patients will triple by 2050, while Dementia Sufferers Will Top 2 Billion by 2050. It is not just the elderly that will be suffering, Over 1.1 million young Jordanians could be diagnosed with diabetes by 2050
As the global population swells, resource depletion will be exacerbated which will have drastic effects on the climate and the earth.
Environmental Outlook Not so Good
- Earth Could be ‘Unrecognizable’ by 2050. Some of the changes may include these 15 Beautiful Places That Will Disappear by 2050, the nearly ice free Arctic summers by 2050, and the disappearance of 27% of Western Chinese Glaciers by 2050
- The changing landscape and climate are predicted to have a severe impact on wildlife, with 1 in 10 animals and plants extinct by 2050, the Oceans’ Fish Could Disappear by 2050, and North American Fish Extinctions May Double by 2050
- There is some hope for A carbon-less world by 2050, if not globally perhaps regionally, as California aims to Slash Greenhouse Gas Emissions 80% by 2050, and New York looks to Wind, Water, and Sunlight to power the state by 2050
The challenges of the growing population and changes to climate will be very evident in terms of the food supply.
Food Security Will Be an Issue
With World food demand to explode by 2050, by estimated rise of 75% by 2050 the question is how on earth can we feed nine billion people? A report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization calls for a 70% jump in world agricultural production, if it is to feed the world’s population in 2050. Others suggest that the World may be forced to go vegetarian by 2050, or rely on Artificial meat. Recognizing the importance of the issue, The International Food Policy Research Institute released a report titled Ending Hunger By 2050: Crucial Investments and Policies. This report outlines several steps to end hunger and prevent the recurrence of famine and starvation, which can largely be divided into two categories; investing in people and investing in science. The two recommendations that stood out the most to me are listed below;
- Increase funding for scientific and technological research to boost agricultural production and efficiency
- Develop scientific policies and institutions to deal with environmental degradation caused by population growth
It isn’t all bad news for 2050
- There will be growth in the economy, despite Worker Rest Breaks to Double by 2050 as Climate Warms, with Turkey to Become Europe’s Strongest Economy by 2050, and Brazil the fourth largest economy by 2050
- Technology will likely be awesome in 2050, and Space may get a little bit closer with Hypersonic ‘SpaceLiner’ to fly passengers by 2050, and there might be a Japanese elevator to space by 2050
- And in perhaps two related items Married couples ‘will be in the minority by 2050‘, while Sex and Marriage with Robots may be common place by 2050 (in Massachusetts, anyway)
It looks like the world is going to be an interesting and different place by 2050