Communicating Data

Striving for Sustainability at 10 Billion

Countries face a difficult balancing act between meeting their citizens’ growing material and health needs, and sustainably managing natural resources—a balance at the center of the Sustainable Development Goals. For the 2016 World Population Data Sheet, PRB chose the theme “Human Needs, Sustainable Resources” to explore linkages between the global population outlook, the state of people’s health and well-being, and our planetary stewardship.

This edition of the Data Sheet included PRB’s latest projection showing a world population just shy of 10 billion people in 2050, about a one-third increase from today. This projection points to significant human and environmental challenges ahead.

From a natural resource perspective, Data Sheet indicators show, for example, that global carbon emissions rose 60 percent between 1992 and 2013, and renewable resources met only 18 percent of current energy demand in 2013. These indicators, along with 23 others can be explored in an online interactive map and data query tool, while an Insights feature delves into issues such as rising particulate matter air pollution in middle-income countries and municipal waste management in large cities. A data visualization ranks countries by how large their projected populations will be in 2050 as a multiple of 2016 fertility levels. Dissemination of Data Sheet information to the global media yielded substantial coverage, including in Newsweek International, Dawn Pakistan, The Citizen Tanzania, and Spain’s El Pais.

Read PRB’s post about the 2016 Data Sheet on the Wilson’s Center Global Security Beat blog: Striving for Sustainability at 10 Billion