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GENEVA (Reuters) - The Catholic Church's ban on the use of contraception is not to blame for the population boom that is about to tip the world over the seven billion mark because most Catholics ignore it, a UN Population Fund (UNFPA) official said on Wednesday.
"In Catholic countries like Italy, Spain or Malta people are still using contraceptives like condoms, so the Church ban is not having an impact," Safiye Cagar, director of the information and external relations division at UNFPA, told a news briefing.
"Besides, the population growth in Catholic countries is limited compared to other parts of world," said Cagar.
Some 98 percent of sexually active Catholic women have used contraceptive methods banned by the church, according a recent report by the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit sexual health research organization.
The U.N. expects the world's population to reach seven billion by October 31, and global resources are being stretched thin to meet the growing demand.
The U.N. projects the world population will reach 9.3 billion in 2050 and 10.1 billion by 2100.
Much of that growth will come from Africa, where the population is growing at 2.3 percent a year -- more than double Asia's 1 percent growth rate. If that rate stays consistent, which is not certain, Africa's population will more than triple to 3.6 billion by 2100 from the current 1 billion.
Reporting by Amena Bakr; Editing by Tim Pearce