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Bad Religion's World Population Prediction: Ten in 2010

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I’ve been listening to Bad Religion since I was in high school (late 90s), and every time I hear the song Ten in 2010 (on The Gray Race album, released in 1996) I make a mental note to be sure and check if they were right when 2010 comes along. Well, people, you can stop holding your breath. It’s finally here.

For those non-Bad Religion fans out there, here are some abridged lyrics:

Parched, cracked mouths; empty, swollen guts
Sun baked pavement encroaches on us
Haves and have-nots together at last
Brutally engaged in mortal combat
10 in 2010

What kind of God orchestrates such a thing?
10 in 2010
Ten billion people all suffering
10 in 2010
Truth is not an issue, just hungry mouths to feed
10 in 2010
Forget what you want, scrounge the things you need

Happy and content it can happen to you
10 in 2010
Fifteen years we’ll think of a solution
10 in 2010
It won’t just appear in one day
10 in 2010
For ten and twenty-ten we’re well on our way
10 in 2010

Like piercing ear darts, I heard the news today
10 in 2010
10 billion people, coming your way

In short: There will be 10 billion people on the Earth in 2010, we’re going to have a hard time feeding them … and we shouldn’t wait until 2011 to come up with a solution.

Well, as it turns out, we either took Bad Religion’s advice or there was no cause for alarm in the first place. We’re well short of the 10 billion mark – sitting at a little over 6.8 billion as I type this. Projections don’t expect the world to even hit 9 billion until 2040 or 2050.

So, I’m not sure weather to congratulate Bad Religion for helping save the world, or to just chuckle as I simultaneously like that they’re singing about something meaningful and think their pessimism a little silly. In either case, maybe they can use this updated graph and write a new song called Twelve in 2070? As long as they make it as catchy as Ten in 2010, I won’t care if it turns out to be wrong.

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World population from 1800 to 2100, based on UN 2004 projections and US Census Bureau historical estimates. (from Wikimedia Commons)

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