Population Growth Diversity Continuing in the 21st Century — Global Issues

Source: United Nations.
  • Idea by Joseph Chamie (portland, usa)
  • Associated Press Service

At an extreme of about 50 countries, which account for almost 30% of the world’s population today, the population is expected to decline in the coming decades.

For example, by 2060, the projections population decrease including 9 percent in Germany, 11 percent in Russia, 13 percent in Spain, 15 percent in China, 17 percent in Poland, 18 percent in Italy, 21 percent in South Korea, 22 percent in Japan and 31 percent in Bulgaria (Figure 1).

In terms of population size, the largest decline is in China with a projected decrease of 218 million people by 2060. China is followed by population declines in Japan and Russia of 27 million and Russia respectively. 16 million.

At the other extreme, the populations of 25 countries, which account for almost 10% of the world’s population, are expected to more than double by 2060. population is expected to increase by 2060 including 106% in Afghanistan, 109% in Sudan, 113% in Uganda, 136% in Tanzania, 142% in Angola, 147% in Somalia, 167% in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and 227% in Niger (Fig. 2).

In terms of population size predicted to more than double, the largest population is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with a projected increase of 165 million by 2060. DRC entails population growth in Tanzania and Niger’s are 89 million and 60 million, respectively.

In between the two extremes of population decline and doubling are 120 countries with average growth rates. They make up about 60% of the world’s population today and are expected to have a larger population by 2060 to varying degrees.

These projected population size increases include 13% in the United States, 17% in New Zealand, 20% in India, 24% in Canada, 29% in Australia, 38% in Saudi Arabia, 58% Israel, 95% in Nigeria and 98 percent in Ethiopia (Figure 3).

Among medium growth countries, the largest projected population growth is in India with a projected increase of 278 million by 2060. This is followed by Nigeria and Ethiopia with population growth times 208 million and 121 million respectively.

The substantial continuing difference in demographic growth rates leads to a remarkable rearrangement of countries by population size.

For example, while in 1980 about half of the 15 largest countries were developed countries, by 2020 that number has dropped to one, the United States. In addition, Nigeria, the country with the 11th largest population in 1980, is the seventh largest population in 2020 and is projected to be the third largest in 2060 with the United States moving into fourth place (Table 2). first).

In addition, China, the world’s most populous country is expected to be surpassed by India in 2023. Furthermore, by 2060, India’s population is expected to be nearly half a billion more than China. people, respectively 1.7 billion people versus 1.2 billion people.

The main explanation behind the variation in population growth rates is the different fertility rates. While countries whose populations are projected to at least double by 2060 have fertility rates between four and six births per woman, those with populations projected to decline have fertility rates below two. births per woman.

About two-third of the world’s 8 billion people live in one country, including the three most populous countries China, India and the United States, where the fertility rate has fallen below the replacement level of 2.1 births per year. a woman. In addition, most of these population groups have had low birth rates for decades.

In addition, many countries are having birth rates below or at half the replacement level. For example, the total fertility rate falls to 1.2 births per woman for China and Italy1.3 for Japan and Spain, with South Korea hitting a record low of 0.8 births every woman.

The populations of some countries with fertility below replacement, such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States, are projected to continue to grow due to international migration. However, if international migration to those countries were to stop, their populations would begin to decline within a few decades like other countries with lower replacement fertility rates.

In the hope of avoiding population decline, many countries are looking to raise fertility rates back to at least replacement levels. Among countries with fertility below replacement level, nearly two-thirds have applied policy to increase their rates, including baby bonuses, family deductions, parental leave, tax incentives, and flexible work schedules.

Most recently, China announced new measures raise fertility below replacement level by making it easier to work and raise a family. Those measures include flexible work arrangements and preferential housing policies for families, as well as education, employment and tax support to encourage childbearing.

Despite the wishes of governments, policies and programs to raise fertility, a return to replacement fertility is not expected in the near future.

The total average fertility rate of the world is 2.4 births per woman in 2020, about half the level in the 1950s and 1960s, is projected to fall to replacement levels by mid-century and to 1.8 births per woman by the end of the 21st century. Thereby, by 2050, about 50 countries are expected to have smaller populations than today, and that number is expected to grow to 72 countries by 2100.

As many of those countries are located in Europe, the continent’s current population of 744 million is expected to drop to 703 million by mid-century. By the next century, Europe’s population is projected to be one-fifth smaller than it is today, from 744 million to 585 million.

In contrast, the populations of about three dozen countries with a current fertility rate of more than four births per woman are projected to continue to increase throughout the century.

Since most of those countries are in Africa, that continent’s population is projected to double by mid-century. Furthermore, by the close of the 21st century, Africa’s population is projected to triple its current size, i.e. from 1.3 billion to 3.9 billion.

In summary, considerable diversity in the development of populations is expected to continue throughout the 21st century. While the populations of many countries are projected to decline, the populations of many others is expected to increase. The net result of that diversity is the world’s current population of 8 billion, which is expected to grow to 10 billion by mid-century.

Joseph Chamie is a consulting demographer, former director of the United Nations Population Division and the author of numerous publications on population issues, including his recent book, “Birth, Death, Migration and Other Important Population Issues. “

© Inter Press Service (2022) – All rights reservedOrigin: Inter Press Service


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