UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Three hundred years from now, the world's population will have stabilized at about 9 billion and we will look forward to
living until age 95. In Japan, that bastion of longevity, people will be hanging around until they're 106.
India, China and the United States will still be the most populous countries on the planet -- if they still exist -- and Africa's share of the
world's population will double to 25 percent. The average woman will give birth to two children.
Those are just a few possibilities projected in a U.N. report released Thursday, which lowers long-term population estimates because of new thinking
about fertility rates in the future.
Still, the global population will swell in the decades to come, when there will be 57 million more people every year from now to 2050, fueled by
growth in less developed regions, the report projects.
That means the world's population will grow by 47 percent to 8.9 billion by 2050, with the biggest spike in African nations. By 2300, a quarter of
the world's population will be African, the report projects.
Among the report's other projections is that the average life expectancy will rise to about 95 years in 2300. In Japan, where even today people tend
to live the longest, life expectancy will be 106. India will surpass China as the world's most populous nation, but China and the United States will
be two and three.
The median age will rise from 26 years to 50 years.
It also projects that HIV will slow its spread by 2010 and a cure for HIV/AIDS will eventually be found, eliminating that downward pull on the
population. In a somewhat understated conclusion, it briefly contemplates what could happen if some new, more virulent disease, arises.