Originally published in Science Magazine.
Almost universally, women with higher levels of education have fewer children. Better education is associated with lower mortality, better health, and different migration patterns. Hence, the global population outlook depends greatly on further progress in education, particularly of young women. By 2050, the highest and lowest education scenarios—assuming identical education-specific fertility rates—result in world population sizes of 8.9 and 10.0 billion, respectively. Better education also matters for human development, including health, economic growth, and democracy. Existing methods of multi-state demography can quantitatively integrate education into standard demographic analysis, thus adding the “quality” dimension.