There is a possibility, says the United Nations, that, by century's end, world population may reach 15 billion. What does this mean for Western civilization?
It may not matter, except to identify who inherits the estate. For while world population is exploding, Western peoples are dying. Not a single European nation, except Muslim Albania, has a birth rate that will enable it to replace its present population.
By mid-century, Western man will be down to 12 percent of world population. By century's end, he will be a tiny fraction, roughly equal to the white population of Rhodesia when Robert Mugabe came to power.
The demographic winter of the West has set in.
Between now and 2050, Russia, a nation of roughly 140 million, down from nearly 150 million at the breakup of the Soviet Union, is on schedule to lose an additional 24 million people.
"Hypermortality" is a word demographers use in discussing Russia.
Germany is to lose 8 million of her 82 million people. Ukraine has lost 6 million people since liberation in 1991 and will lose another 10 million by 2050. The population of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, 8 million in 1990, will by mid-century have fallen by 30 percent to 5.7 million.
Britain, however, is to add 12 million. But since emigration from Britain is bleeding the population and the birth rate of her native-born has been below zero population growth for 35 years, the U.N. has to be factoring in immigration from the old colonies in the Caribbean, the Middle East, the sub-Sahara and South Asia.
With the median age of European nations rising toward 50 and above, and a growing share of the population over 65, the continent is going to need millions of young immigrants to maintain the labor force and cope with seniors and elderly in retirement centers, assisted living facilities and nursing homes.
Where will they come from? Continents and countries with population surges and surpluses.
By 2050, Africa's population will double from 1 billion to 2 billion people. Where today the six most populous Islamic nations -- Indonesia, Egypt, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria and Turkey -- have a combined population of 885 million, by 2050 their populations will have increased by 475 million to 1.36 billion. Of the 48 fastest-growing countries in the world, 28 are majority Muslim or have Muslim populations of more than one-third of the national population.