Report Sees Middle Class Gains, Resource Shortages
WASHINGTON - Nearly two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities by 2030, with most people middle class, connected by technology, protected by advanced health care and linked by countries that work together, perhaps with the United States and China cooperating to lead the way.
That’s the best case scenario in a report, Global Trends 2030, released Monday by the U.S. government’s National Intelligence Council.
In the worst case scenarios, rising population leads to conflict over water and food, especially in the Mideast and Africa, and the instability contributes to global economic collapse.
The study is the intelligence community’s analysis of where current trends will take the world in the next 15 to 20 years, intended to help policymakers plan for the best and worst possible futures to come.
The report is broken down into what the National Intelligence Council calls megatrends that are likely to occur and game-changers - the what-if’s that are less certain but would be so significant that they can’t be ignored.
Among the major trends: the rise of a global middle class that is better educated, connected via technology and healthier due to advances in medicine. Power will no longer reside with one or two key nations, but be spread across networks and coalitions of countries working together.
In countries where there are declining birth rates and an aging population like the U.S., economic growth may slow. Sixty percent of the world’s population will live in cities.
Yet even with these advances, food, water and energy will be more scarce.
"Nearly half of the world’s population will live in areas experiencing severe water stress," the report said. Africa and the Middle East will be most at risk of food and water shortages, but China and India also vulnerable.