from the On-a-Pale-Horse-vs-Being-a-Green-Mother dept.
The world population is growing because the birth rate exceeds the death rate, so to stabilize the world population either the birth rate needs to drop, or the death rate needs to increase. The most cited reference for population studies is the projections of future population (PDF) made by the Population Division of the United Nations. The UN report projects the world population to eventually stabilize as a result of countries settling in to a birth rate that falls around the replacement level.
A commentary by Stephen Warren in the open access journal Earth's Future takes the UN report to task for focusing on birth rate. He notes that all species generate offspring in numbers well above the replacement level of two, but you don't see historically the kind of population growth like you do with humans. He argues that despite all the negative feedback mechanisms on population (such as war and pestilence), it seems that Malthus (PDF) was correct that food supply is the driving factor, and wonders whether it is even possible to stabilize the world population until food production levels off.
[Editor's Comment: Original Submission]