The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ World Population Prospects report released on Monday (17) states that the world population is expected to climb up to 9.7 billion in 2050 from 7.7 billion today.
“The population could then grow to 11 billion by 2100 with the population of sub-Saharan Africa doubling,” states the report.
The study also paints a picture of a future in which a handful of countries see their populaces surge as life expectancy lengthens while the global growth rate slows amid declining fertility rates.
By 2050, more than half of the world’s population growth will be concentrated in just nine countries: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Indonesia, Egypt and the United States.
Meanwhile, the world’s most populous country China will see its population drop by 2.2 per cent, or around 31.4 million, between 2019 and 2050.
All told, 27 countries or territories have experienced a reduction of at least one per cent in the size of their populations since 2010 due to low levels of fertility.
The report also says deaths are outpacing new births in Belarus, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine, but that population loss will be offset by an inflow of migrants.
The overall global fertility rate, which declined from 3.2 births per-woman in 1990 to 2.5 in 2019, is expected to fall further to 2.2 in 2050. That’s close to the minimum of 2.1 births needed to ensure the replacement of generations and avoid long-term population decline in the absence of migration, according to the United Nations.
The report also projects growing life expectancy generally, including in poor countries where it is now seven years less than the global average.
“Global average life expectancy should reach 77.1 years in 2050 against 72.6 years currently, In 1990, the average life expectancy was 64.2 years,” the report states