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  • In this year's Annual Letter, Melinda and I take the toughest questions

  • we get asked and give our answers.

  • One that's come up for a long time is: as we make the world healthier, is the population going to get so big that feeding everybody and maintaining the environment is going to be impossible?

  • Here we can see a chart that looks at the total world population over the last several hundred years, and at first glance this is a bit scary.

  • We go from less than a billion in 1800, and then 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.4 billion where

  • we are today is happening even faster.

  • So, Melinda and I wondered whether providing new medicines and keeping children

  • alive, would that create more of a population problem?

  • What we found out is that as health improve, families choose to have less children

  • and this effect is very, very dramatic.

  • We find that in every country of the world, this is repeated.

  • The population growth goes down as we improve health.

  • So, we've taken that chart that shows the global population growth

  • and we've actually extended it out all the way to 2100.

  • And we can see that instead of continuing, it actually flattens out .

  • Another way to see that is through this rate of population growth.

  • And you can see that in the 60s that reached a pretty high number,

  • over 2% per year, and it's now come way, way down.

  • Now, 11 billion people is still a lot, but the good news is that the faster we improve

  • health, the faster family size goes down.

  • And so, we can feel great about saving those lives.

In this year's Annual Letter, Melinda and I take the toughest questions

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