En-ROADS User Guide

Population Growth🔗

Assume higher or lower population growth. Population is a key driver of increased greenhouse gases; however, this is also tied heavily to consumption habits. Women’s education and access to family planning could accelerate shifts to smaller families worldwide.


  • Different assumptions for future fertility rates and demographics.
  • Greater empowerment of women and girls, resulting in lower fertility rates.
  • Increased education on and access to reproductive health services.

Big Messages🔗

  • Limiting population growth is not a silver bullet for addressing climate change.

  • Decisions around population and family choice are personal decisions and efforts to shift these decisions have many ethical implications.

Key Dynamics🔗

  • Impact. Since energy demand depends on the number of people, watch all the sources of energy change as you change population growth. Use the Kaya graphs to understand how population growth affects emissions in your scenario.

  • Delay. Lower population growth takes a long time to affect emissions because global population shifts do not occur quickly and instead play out over many decades.

Potential Co-Benefits of Lower Growth🔗

  • Lower population growth reduces global consumption of resources.
  • Ensuring safe access to family planning, reproductive health services, and women’s education enhances quality of life and income for women.

Equity Considerations🔗

  • Policies around population should be voluntary and empower women to make the choices that are best for them.
  • A higher percentage of women of color live in countries with severe gender inequities in access to education, full economic and political participation, and adequate family planning. Reducing population growth necessitates a large investment in that particular group.
  • There is a history of women of color in both high- and low-income countries being forcibly sterilized to prevent giving birth; this should never be encouraged.1 2


Population & Economic Growth

Slider Settings🔗

The slider reflects the 95% probability range of population deviating from the United Nation's medium population growth path.3 The variable being changed reflects the global population by 2100, in billions of people.

lowest growth low growth status quo high growth highest growth
UN Scenario low end of UN's 95% range middle of of UN's 95% range high end of UN's 95% range
Population in 2100 8.8 to 9.2 billion 9.2 to 10.0 billion 10.0 to 10.9 billion 10.9 to 11.9 billion 11.9 to 12.4 billion

Model Structure🔗

Population gets multiplied with economic growth (GDP per capita) to equal total global GDP, or Gross World Product.

Please visit support.climateinteractive.org for additional inquiries and support.


[1]: Bi, S. (2015). Forced Sterilizations of HIV-Positive Women: A Global Ethics and Policy Failure. AMA Journal of Ethics, 17(10), 952–957.

[2]: Blakemore, E. (2016, August 25). The Little-Known History of the Forced Sterilization of Native American Women. JSTOR Daily.

[3]: United Nations. (2022). World Population Prospects 2022.

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