According to World Population Prospects 2022, which was released today in honour of World Population Day, the population of the world will reach 8 billion on November 15, 2022, and India will surpass China as the world’s most populous country in 2023.
“This year’s World Population Day falls during a milestone year when we anticipate the birth of the Earth’s eight billionth inhabitant. This is an occasion to celebrate our diversity, recognize our common humanity, and marvel at advancements in health that have extended lifespans and dramatically reduced maternal and child mortality rates,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “At the same time, it is a reminder of our shared responsibility to care for our planet and a moment to reflect on where we still fall short of our commitments to one another,” he added.
The population of the world actually declined by less than 1% in 2020, increasing at its slowest rate since 1950. The world’s population may reach 8.5 billion people in 2030 and 9.7 billion by 2050, according to the most recent projections from the United Nations. The population is expected to reach its peak in the 2080s at 10.4 billion people and remain there until 2100.
According to World Population Prospects 2022, fertility has decreased significantly in many nations during the past few decades. Currently, two-thirds of the world’s population reside in regions or nations with lifetime fertility rates below 2.1 births per woman, or roughly the number needed for a population with low mortality to experience long-term growth of zero. Between 2022 and 2050, it is predicted that the populations of 61 countries or regions will decline by 1% or more. This is due to persistently low fertility rates and, in some cases, high emigration rates.
Eight countries—the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, and the United Republic of Tanzania—are anticipated to house more than half of the anticipated growth in the global population up to 2050. More than half of the increase forecast through 2050 is anticipated to come from sub-Saharan African nations.
“The relationship between population growth and sustainable development is complex and multidimensional,” said Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs. “Rapid population growth makes eradicating poverty, combatting hunger and malnutrition, and increasing the coverage of health and education systems more difficult. Conversely, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, especially those related to health, education, and gender equality, will contribute to reducing fertility levels and slowing global population growth.”
As a result of recent drops in fertility, the percentage of the population that is working age (between 25 and 64 years old) has been increasing throughout the majority of sub-Saharan Africa, as well as in various regions of Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Age distribution changes, or the “demographic dividend,” provide a small window for improved per-capita economic growth. To maximise the benefits of a favourable age distribution, nations should invest in the continued development of their human capital. In order to achieve this, they should ensure that everyone has access to high-quality healthcare and education, as well as promote opportunities for gainful employment and respectable work.
It is predicted that by 2050, 16% of the world’s population would be over 65, up from 10% in 2022. It is predicted that there will be about equal numbers of individuals over 65 and under 12 at that time, and more than twice as many over 65 as under 5. Countries with ageing populations should develop universal health care and long-term care systems, as well as strengthen the sustainability of social security and pension systems, to adapt governmental programmes to the growing number of older people.
The average life expectancy at birth in 2019 was 72.8 years, up around 9 years from 1990. In 2050, it is predicted that additional mortality declines will result in a global average lifespan of around 77.2 years. But in 2021, the life expectancy in the least developed countries lagged 7 years below the global average.
The COVID-19 pandemic has an effect on all three aspects of population change. The average birth life expectancy fell to 71.0 years in 2021. Some countries may have experienced temporary declines in the number of births and conceptions as a result of the pandemic’s various waves, even if there is little evidence of an impact on fertility levels or trends in many other countries. The epidemic severely limited all forms of human mobility, including international migration.
“Further actions by Governments aimed at reducing fertility would have little impact on the pace of population growth between now and mid-century, because of the youthful age structure of today’s global population. Nevertheless, the cumulative effect of lower fertility, if maintained over several decades, could be a more substantial deceleration of global population growth in the second half of the century,” added John Wilmoth, Director of the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.