22.06.2017 |

World population projected to reach 11.2 billion in 2100

India’s population is expected to surpass China’s (Photo: CC0)

The world population is expected to reach 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100, according to a new UN report released on June 21. The “World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision”, published by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, projects that India’s population will surpass China’s in 2024 while Nigeria’s population will overtake that of the United States and become the third largest country in the world shortly before 2050. The global population is continuing to grow, albeit more slowly than in recent years. The current number of nearly 7.6 billion will increase by more than one billion people to 8.6 billion by 2030. Ten years ago, it was growing by 1.24% per year. Today, it is growing by 1.10% per year, adding 83 million people annually.

Currently, 60% of the world’s people live in Asia (4.5 billion), 17% in Africa (1.3 billion), 10% in Europe (742 million), 9% in Latin America and the Caribbean (646 million), and the remaining 6% in Northern America (361 million) and Oceania (41 million). China (1.4 billion) and India (1.3 billion) remain the two most populous countries, comprising 19 and 18% of the global total, respectively. Much of the overall increase in population between now and 2050 is projected to occur either in countries with high fertility rates, mostly in Africa, or in countries with large populations. Among the ten largest countries worldwide, Nigeria is growing the most rapidly. The countries that will make the largest total contribution to population growth are India, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, Ethiopia, the United Republic of Tanzania, the United States of America, Uganda and Indonesia.

Population growth remains especially high in the group of 47 countries designated by the UN as the least developed countries (LDCs), including 33 countries in Africa. Although the growth of LDCs is projected to slow, the population of this group will nearly double in size from 1 billion inhabitants in 2017 to 1.9 billion in 2050. Between 2017 and 2100, the populations of 33 countries, most of them LDCs, are very likely to at least triple in size. Among them, the populations of Angola, Burundi, Niger, Somalia, the United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia are projected to be at least five times as large in 2100 as they are today. The report warns that “the concentration of population growth in the poorest countries will make it harder for those governments to eradicate poverty, reduce inequality, combat hunger and malnutrition, expand and update education and health systems, improve the provision of basic services and ensure that no-one is left behind.” This presents a considerable challenge to governments in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In sharp contrast to the projected increases in LDCs, the populations of 51 countries or areas in the world are expected to decrease. Several countries are expected to see their populations decline by more than 15% by 2050, including Bulgaria, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia and the Ukraine. Fertility rates in all European countries are now below the level required for the replacement of successive generations (roughly 2.1 births per woman). Fertility for Europe as a whole is projected to increase from 1.6 births per woman in 2010-2015 to nearly 1.8 in 2045-2050. However, this will not prevent a likely contraction in total population size. The report shows that lower fertility will result in ageing populations. Compared to 2017, the number of persons aged 60 or above is expected to more than double by 2050, rising from currently 962 million to 2.1 billion. The 2017 Revision also confirms a significant increase in life expectancy in recent years. Globally, life expectancy rose from 67.2 to 70.8 years between 2000-2005 and 2010-2015. The greatest gains were achieved in Africa, where life expectancy rose by 6.6 years between these two periods. In 2010-2015, average life expectancy in Africa was 60.2 years, compared to 71.8 in Asia, 74.6 in Latin America and the Caribbean, 77.2 in Europe, 77.9 in Oceania and 79.2 in Northern America. (ab)

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Donors of globalagriculture Bread for all biovision Bread for the World Misereor Heidehof Stiftung Hilfswerk der Evangelischen Kirchen Schweiz Rapunzel
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