A surge in the world’s population is expected in the coming decades, according to a report by the United Nations. Despite the steady decline of fertility rates since the 1960’s, the global population will increase by a billion people in the next 13 years.
India will overtake China as the world’s most populated country within the next seven years. Currently, China has 1.4 billion people, while India is closing the gap with 1.3 billion.
Nigeria, the fastest growing country out of the ten most populated countries, is projected to surpass the United States as the third most crowded country by 2050.
The report encompasses population data of 233 countries. Nine countries – India, Nigeria, Congo, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Tanzania, United States, Uganda and Indonesia – will account for half of this growth spurt, with Africa in the lead. The report says 26 African countries are likely to double in size.
John Wilmoth is the director of the United Nations Population Division. “The population in Africa is notable for its rapid rate of growth, and it is anticipated that over half of global population growth between now and 2050 will take place in that region,” said Wilmoth.
Europe will not contribute to the population boom, mainly due to an aging populace. With 25 percent of inhabitants aged 60 and over, Europe is expected to see a steady decline in population through 2050.
The report points out that fertility has been declining in recent years. From 2010 to 2015, 46 percent of the global population lived in areas with fertility rates lower than what is needed to replace a generation of people.
In addition to slowing population growth, low fertility levels lead to an older population. The number of people aged 60 and over will more than double by 2050, jumping from 962 million to 2.1 billion.
“Europe has the lowest fertility level, estimated at 1.6 births per woman in the most recent period, while Africa has the highest fertility, with around 4.7 births per woman,” explained Wilmoth.
While the global population, which is currently 7.6 billion, will expand over the next century, the research predicts this will slow down by 2100 and stall out in the decades that follow.
Source: United Nations