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2015-07-31

UN projects world population to hit 9.7 billion by 2050

World The world is growing (Dietmut Teijgeman-Hansen/flickr.com)

The current world population will increase from 7.3 billion today to 9.7 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100, according to the latest UN projections. India is expected to become the most populous country, surpassing China within the next seven years. Nigeria will overtake the United States to become the world’s third largest country within 35 years from now. The new report, published on Wednesday by the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), attributes the increase in the world’s population to a small number of high-fertility countries, which already have large populations. By 2050, six countries will have more than 300 million inhabitants: China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan and the USA. In the period 2015-2050, half of the world’s population growth is expected to happen in just nine countries: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, the USA, Indonesia and Uganda. The UN figures project Africa to remain the continent with the highest fertility rates, accounting for more than half of the world’s population growth between 2015 and 2050. In 28 African countries, populations are expected to double, and by 2100, ten African countries are projected to have increased fivefold: Angola, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Somalia, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia. “The concentration of population growth in the poorest countries presents its own set of challenges, making it more difficult to eradicate poverty and inequality, to combat hunger and malnutrition, and to expand educational enrolment and health systems, all of which are crucial to the success of the new sustainable development agenda,” said John Wilmoth, Director of the Population Division at UN DESA. Although global fertility rates are declining in almost all parts of the world, this is being offset by countries with large populations and a high number of children born per woman. The overall slowdown in population growth will cause the world population to become older. Globally the number of people aged 60 or older is expected to double by 2050 and more than triple by 2100. (ab)

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