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Factfile on world population growth

by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) Sept 19, 2010
Following is a factfile on world population growth:

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

- The highest rate of population growth was in the late 1960s, at 2.04 percent, and 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 will 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 eight 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 categorised today as developing economies. But if fertility remains at today's levels, they will number 9.8 billion.

-- In 2005, modern contraception in the poorest countries reached only 24 percent among 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 nine 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," UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, March 2009

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