The University of Southampton is home to the UK’s leading centre for understanding population change. Our world-leading academics are addressing the challenges of a growing global population, which reached seven billion people last year.
The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Centre for Population Change, based on the Highfield Campus, conducts research into modelling population growth, as well as other themes including fertility and family formation, living arrangements, migration and ageing.
As the UK’s first research centre dedicated to population studies, it aims to understand the extent and implications of population growth and change to form appropriate policy responses. The Centre has a multidisciplinary approach, bringing together over 30 academics and associates from fields including demography, economics, geography and social statistics.
Experts from the United Nations predicted that world population would reach seven billion on 31 October 2011. To mark this milestone, our academics organised a high-level debate, as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Sciences. In the style of a ‘Question Time’ debate, scholars, policy makers, geography teachers, sixth-form students and members of the public came together to discuss the issues facing a growing, diverse and ageing population.
Jane Falkingham, Professor of Demography and the Centre’s director, comments: “The growing population of the world presents both opportunities and challenges. Even if fertility falls rapidly, the world’s population is still likely to exceed 10 billion by the start of the next century. It is nevertheless possible to provide food, shelter, education and health for a population this size if the benefits of technology are shared across our global society.”