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According to the United Nations, by 1960 70 percent of the world’s people lived in developing countries. Today the figure is 80 percent, and these countries account for 95 percent of population growth.

Africa’s population has tripled since 1960 and continues to grow the fastest. Europe had twice as many people as Africa in 1960. By 2050 experts estimate there will be three times as many Africans as Europeans.

Asia has more than doubled its population since 1960, as have Latin America and the Caribbean. North America’s population has grown by 50 percent, while Europe’s has risen by only 20 percent and now is roughly stable. The United States is the only industrial country whose population is expected to increase—due largely not to births, but to immigration.

The United Nations estimates that as the 21st century begins, more than a billion people lack basic needs. Nearly three-fifths of the 4.8 billion people in developing countries have no basic sanitation. Almost a third lack access to clean water. A quarter have no adequate housing, and a fifth go without modern health services.

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image: Effects of overpopulation

Satellite technology allows Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources to find cost effective and timely solutions to management problems.

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An animation of satellite imagery shows urban growth in the Baltimore, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., area.

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Population has slowed or stopped in most developed countries.

Developing countries account for more than 95 percent of today’s population growth.

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