Facts & Figures on World Population Growth

Posted on September 21, 2010 by derek



From Grist:

- In 1900, the world’s population stood at around 1.65 billion. By 2000, it had reached 6 billion. Today, it is more than 6.8 billion, growing at around 78 million a year. By early 2012, it will exceed 7 billion.

- The highest rate of population growth was in the late 1960s, at 2.04 percent. The biggest annual increase in numbers, with 86 million each year, was in the late 1980s.

- The growth rate today is around 1.3 percent globally, but in the 49 poorest countries, it is at 2.3 percent.

- By 2050, the world’s population is projected to be 9.1 billion, increasing at the rate of 33 million annually. This is a middle-of-the road projection, based on a decline in fertility from 2.56 children per woman today to 2.02 children per woman by 2050.

- The total could be as high as 10.5 billion or as low as 8 billion if the fertility variable changes up or down by “half a child” per woman as compared to the medium projection.

- In a world of 9.1 billion, 7.9 billion will live in countries currently categorized as developing economies. But if fertility remains at today’s levels, those in developing countries will number 9.8 billion.

- In 2005, modern contraception in the poorest countries reached only 24 percent of women of reproductive age who were married or in a union. Another 23 percent had an unmet need for family planning.

- In 31 countries, the population is likely to double by 2050, the vast majority of which are least developed, such as Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Niger, Somalia, and Uganda.

- In 45 countries, the population is likely to fall by 2050. They include Belarus, Bulgaria, Germany, Japan, Poland, Russia, South Korea, and Ukraine.

- Slower population growth in many developed countries has led to a higher proportion of older people. In these economies, 22 percent of the population is already aged over 60, a proportion projected to reach 33 percent in 2050. This has raised concerns about economic sustainability and the future of pensions.

- In developing countries today, about half of the population today is aged under 25. Only 9 percent of the population is aged 60 or more. But these countries too will face the challenge of the demographic pyramid. One fifth of their population will be aged 60-plus by 2050.

SOURCE: “World Population Prospects: The 2008 Revision,” U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs, March 2009.

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