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Gifford Center for Population Studies

The Gifford Center for Population Studies examines the myriad ways in which growing populations affect each other and the earth. John P. and Mary Louise Gifford established the Gifford Center in 1998 to support research and education about the effects of human population growth on the food supply, environment, and sustainability.

The second half of the  20th century was a period of rapid population growth. The world’s population was less than two billion in 1900 and over six billion in 2000. Most population growth occurred after 1960, as death rates fell and fertility remained high. Fertility, the average number of children per woman, was over six in the 1960s in many developing countries, and is 2.5 today. Even though 40 of the world’s 200 countries have below-replacement fertility, the 150 countries with fertility rates above the replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman, combined with the youthful age structure in many countries, undergird the projection that the world’s population will rise from seven billion today to over nine billion in 2050.

The Gifford Center supports interdisciplinary research that examines the impacts of population growth, including fertility, mortality, and migration, as well as the impacts of people on natural resources.

For further information about the Gifford Center, please contact Philip Martin.