Raising levels of education may be key means of stabilising world population

Future trends in global population growth could be significantly affected by improvements in both the quality and quantity of education, particularly female education.

The research reinforces earlier findings that the level of formal education achieved by women is, in most cases, the single most important determinant of population growth. More educated women generally have fewer children, better general health, and higher infant survival rates. Education also appears to be a more important determinant of child survival than household income and wealth. The study also found that if concerted efforts were made to fast track education, the global population could remain below 9 billion by 2050. Thus the global population outlook depends greatly on further progress in education.

The researchers warn that it can take 15 years for a fast track education policy to impact on population levels. 

An example give is of Kenya: where the population would increase from 31 million in 2000, to 85 million in 2050, under the optimistic FT scenario. Under the pessimistic CEN scenario with no new schools, Kenya’s population could increase to 114 million.