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Crowded Earth: how many is too many?

 On October 31, the world's population is officially scheduled to hit seven billion -- a rise of two billion in less than a quarter century. Over six decades, the global fertility rate has roughly halved, and amounts to a statistical 2.5 children per woman today. "Despite alarmist predictions, historical increases in population have not been economically catastrophic," notes David Bloom, a professor in the Department of Global Health and Population at Harvard.