Hans Rosling, Professor of Global Health at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, got Tuesday’s show rolling at the University of Helsinki. I do not think that many listeners could have felt like outsiders after hearing his opening words: “I’ve been asked to come here to talk about the world.”
In essence, professor Rosling produced a statistical attack about world population, rebuking a host of false notions that he feels dominate press coverage on demographics, the economy, energy and the environment. One of his key points was what he calls “peak child”:
“The fact is that the number of children in the world has stopped growing. It is over. This is the most important fact that has been missed by the media”, said Rosling.
He argued that the main reason for the increase in world population is neither a larger number of children nor a longer lifespan.
Instead, the main reason for continuing population growth is that there is simply a large number of young people in the world already, and as they still have a long time to go, the population will keep growing for quite a while.
To prove his point, Rosling ran an intriguing time-lapse graphic on the number of babies per women in each of the world’s countries from the 19th Century until 2009. It shows the number of children born has come down steadily in a significant number of the countries in the world.
This fact, he noted further on during his presentation, is a powerful argument against the notion that saving poor children would be dangerous for the environment. ”I hate the term ‘population explosion’”, he exclaimed.
Rosling delivered so many interesting detailed facts that I won’t even start going through his points on energy and the economy, but below are a few links, in case you want to read more.