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11/19/2015

5waystheworldwilllookdramaticallydifferentin2100AgendaTheWorldEconomicForum

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5waystheworldwilllookdramaticallydifferentin
2100
ByAnaSwanson
Aug192015

Thinktheworldiscrowdednow?Youhaventseenanythingyet.
Theworldisexpectedtoaddanotherbillionpeoplewithinthenext15years,bringing
thetotalglobalpopulationfrom7.3billioninmid2015to8.5billionin2030,9.7
billionin2050,and11.2billionby2100,accordingtonewestimatesfromtheUN.
Currently,60percentoftheglobalpopulationlivesinAsia,16percentinAfrica,10
percentinEurope,9percentinLatinAmericaandtheCaribbean,andonly5percent
inNorthAmericaandOceania.ChinaandIndiaarethelargestcountriesinthe
world,togethermakingupalmost40percentoftheworldpopulation.
Butthosenumberswontstaythatwayforlong.Thechartsbelow,createdbydata
scientistTariqKhokharfortheWorldBankdatablogusingthemediumestimatesof
theUNfigures,showourworldissettochangeinsurprisingways.
1.Getreadyforanother4billionpeopleby2100.

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Theworldpopulationisgrowingatagraduallyslowerandslowerpace,butitsstill
growingsubstantially.Currently,theworldaddsabout83millionpeopleperyear,
equivalenttoroughlythepopulationofGermany.Butpopulationgrowthhasslowed
to1.18percentperyearfrom1.24percentadecadeago.
TheUNexpectspopulationgrowthtocontinuetograduallyleveloff.Global
populationisalmostsuretoriseintheshorttermbuttheUNsaysthereisa1in4
chancethattheworldpopulationwillstabilizeorfallbefore2100.
Howaccuratearethesepredictions?Inthepast,theUNhashadaprettygoodtrack
recordwithitspopulationpredictions,asIn1948itprojectedworldpopulationwould
bearound6billionin2000,onlylessthanfivepercentofffromwhatitwasthatyear,
Khokarpointsout.
Asthesayinggoes,pastperformanceisnoguarantee.Thereareafewfactorsthat
couldskewtheseresults.OnethattheUNmentionsinitsreportishowfastthebirth
ratefallsincountrieswherewomencurrentlyhavealotofkids.TheUNisexpecting
fertilitytofallsubstantially,butthatwillhingeonthingslikeinvestmentsinwomens
healthandexpandedaccesstobirthcontrol.
2.ThatgrowthismostlycomingfromonecontinentAfrica.

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TheUNsprojectionsforAfricaareprettymindblowing.Africaisexpectedtomore
thandoubleitspopulationby2100.Africacurrentlyaccountsfor16percentofthe
globalpopulation.TheUNexpectsthatproportiontoriseto25percentin2050and
49percentby2100.
Thatsmostlybecausethecontinentissoyoung,andpartlybecausefertilityrates
arehigh.Exactlyhalfofthecontinentspopulationwasundertheageof24in2015.
Manyofthesepeoplewillhavechildrenoftheirowninthenextfewdecades,adding
greatlytotheglobaltotal.
Incontrast,thechartaboveshowstheUNexpectsAsiaspopulationtopeakand
thenbegintofall,sincemanyAsiancountrieshaveagingpopulations.LatinAmerica,
Europe,NorthernAmericaandOceaniawillmostlystayprettyconstant.
BelowaretwomoreinteractivechartsbyKhokharshowingjusthowmuchAfricawill
addtotheworldpopulation.

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3.Nigeriawillsoonbecometheworldsthirdmostpopulouscountry.
3K+ 839 303

NigeriaspopulationwillbebiggerthanthatoftheU.S.beforelong.Thecountryis
expectedtosurpassAmericabyabout2050tobecomethethirdlargestcountryin
theworld,theUNsays.Atthatpoint,China,India,Indonesia,Nigeria,Pakistanand
theU.S.willallhavepopulationsofmorethan300million.
TheUNstatsalsoshowthatnearlyhalfoftheworldspopulationgrowththatwill
happenbefore2050willbeconcentratedinninecountries:India,Nigeria,Pakistan,
DemocraticRepublicoftheCongo,Ethiopia,Tanzania,theU.S.,Indonesiaand
Uganda.
4.IndiawillsurpassChinasoon.
Demographybuffsmayalreadyknowthisone,butIndiaissettobecometheworlds
mostpopulouscountryverysoon.Chinanowhas1.38billionpeople,comparedwith
1.31billioninIndia.By2022,bothcountrieswillseetheirpopulationsriseto1.4
billion.Afterthat,Chinaspopulationwillleveloffasitspeopleage,butIndiawill
keepgrowingto1.5billionin2030and1.7billionin2050.
Thechartbelowshowsjusthowmuchoftheworldspopulationgrowthishappening
inIndia.
5.Europeisgettingreallyold.
Rightnow,aboutaquarterofEuropeansare60orolder.Thatproportionwillriseto
alittlemorethanathirdin2050and2100.
OutsideofAfrica,theglobalpopulationisalsosettoage.By2050,inallareasofthe
worldexceptAfrica,nearlyaquarterormoreofthepopulationwillbe60orolder.
CountriesincludingBosniaandHerzegovina,Bulgaria,Croatia,Hungary,Japan,
Latvia,Lithuania,RepublicofMoldova,Romania,Serbia,andUkrainewillseetheir
populationsfallbymorethan15percentby2050.
Onewaytomeasuretheagingoftheglobalpopulationisthemedianage,whichis
theagethatdividestheworldpopulationintotwohalvesofequalsize,theUNsays.
Thatageisnow29.6,butitwillriseto36in2050and42in2100.
ThisarticleispublishedincollaborationwithTheWashingtonPost.Publicationdoes
notimplyendorsementofviewsbytheWorldEconomicForum.
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TokeepupwithAgendasubscribetoourweeklynewsletter.
Author:AnaSwansonisareporterfortheWashingtonPost.
Image:PeoplecrossastreetinMongKokdistrictinHongKong.REUTERS/Bobby
Yip
PostedbyAnaSwanson11:06
Allopinionsexpressedarethoseoftheauthor.TheWorldEconomicForumBlogisanindependentandneutralplatform
dedicatedtogeneratingdebatearoundthekeytopicsthatshapeglobal,regionalandindustryagendas.
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