Although the population of much of the world is starting to stabilize, the U.N. predicts that sub-Saharan Africa will add three billion people over the next 84 years.
A new study highlighted in Nature suggests that one underpopulated place that could support lots more Africans is … Africa.
Africa is just a really big place and it wasn’t all that heavily populated until quite recently. Agriculture spread outward from the Cameroon-Nigerian border region and only got to much of central, southern, and eastern Africa fairly recently. And large wildlife like elephants out-competed humans in many places. A few spots with rich soil like Rwanda are densely populated, but much of Africa isn’t close to its Malthusian ceiling.
It would be nice if Africans followed the example of the rest of humanity in engaging in family planning, but there’s no good reason why the coming billions of Africans have to move to Europe, which the Nature study finds is quite crowded enough already. There is plenty of room for them in Africa.