New UN population projections: Still on track for more than 10 billion people

Written by Olivia Nater | Published: July 11, 2024


New world population projections released today by the United Nations Population Division reveal that the widespread narrative about declining birth rates precipitating a global “population collapse” is very far from reality.

According to the new UN projections, the world’s population is expected to keep growing for another 60 years, reaching a peak of 10.3 billion people in 2084, up from today’s 8.2 billion. This is hardly different from the 10.4 billion peak projected in the previous set of UN projections from 2022, and debunks “underpopulation” concerns spread by pro-growth influencers such as billionaire and father-of-12 Elon Musk.

Population Connection Vice President for Communications, Marian Starkey, says,

“Musk has repeatedly made the absurd claim that small family sizes present an existential risk to humanity, while the most authoritative population data clearly show that we should still be concerned about the opposite problem — our continued population growth.

“Our planet is already struggling under the weight of 8 billion people — an impossibly unsustainable number which exacerbates all of our environmental crises, from climate change to resource depletion to biodiversity loss. The goal of ensuring a good quality of life for all within planetary boundaries is moving further out of reach the more we fail to invest in empowering solutions. We can and must achieve an earlier, lower peak population by accelerating efforts to remove the barriers to family planning that hundreds of millions of women around the world still face.”

Small family sizes have become the norm wherever women have access to the full range of reproductive health services as well as education and career opportunities. Unfortunately, many areas still struggle to provide these essential services and opportunities, resulting in rapid population growth, which threatens nations’ development prospects.

More than one-in-10 countries, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa, have very high fertility rates of four or more births per woman. These countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Niger, and Somalia, are also among the most vulnerable to the escalating impacts of the climate crisis. Improving the status of women in high fertility areas, starting by enabling them to decide whether, when, and with whom to have children, is key to alleviating suffering and achieving a safer future.

Melvine Ouyo, Population Connection board member and Founder of Hope for Kenya Slum Adolescents Initiative (HKSAI), says,

“We should be concerned about rapid population growth, not least because it reflects deep gender inequalities. Through my work, I encounter girls and women throughout East Africa who have been impacted by early and forced marriage, gender-based violence, and lack of education. I have witnessed first-hand how lending them a helping hand can turn their lives around, which also generates benefits for their families and entire communities. Increasing investment in international family planning and women’s empowerment programs is an incredibly powerful, cost-effective sustainable development intervention.”


Contact Marian Starkey: | 202-974-7735

Population Connection is the largest grassroots population organization in the United States, educating young people and advocating progressive action to stabilize world population at a level that can be sustained by Earth’s resources.

2120 L Street NW, Suite 500

Washington, DC 20037


Notes for editors:

The United Nations World Population Prospects are published by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division every 2 to 3 years. The new 2024 estimates, projections and accompanying publications were embargoed until 12:30pm EDT on July 11, and can now be accessed at

Hope for Kenya Slum Adolescents Initiative (HKSAI) is a youth focused non-profit dedicated to empowering low-income Kenyan adolescent girls and young women living in informal settings. More info at