Nigeria, 7 Others to Jerk World Population to 9.7 billion in 2050
By Adedapo Adesanya
The United Nations (UN) has said the world population will reach 8 billion this year from the current level of 7.96 billion and in 2030, the figure could rise to 8.5 billion and to 9.7 billion in 2050 before reaching a peak of around 10.4 billion in the 2080s to 2100.
In the latest UN projections, the organisation noted that more than half of the projected increase in the global population up to 2050 will be concentrated in eight countries: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and the United Republic of Tanzania.
The annual study, which was released on Monday to coincide with World Population Day, also disclosed that the global population is growing at its slowest rate since 1950, having fallen to less than one per cent in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fertility, the report declares, has fallen markedly in recent decades for many countries: today, two-thirds of the global population lives in a country or area where lifetime fertility is below 2.1 births per woman, roughly the level required for zero growth in the long run, for a population with low mortality.
In most countries of sub-Saharan Africa, as well as in parts of Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean, recent reductions in fertility have led to a “demographic dividend”, with a rise in the share of the working-age population (25 to 64 years), providing an opportunity for accelerated economic growth per capita.
The report argues that to make the most of this opportunity, countries should invest in the further development of their human capital, by ensuring access to health care and quality education for all ages, and by promoting opportunities for productive employment and decent work.
Further reductions in mortality are projected to result in average global longevity of around 77.2 years in 2050. Yet in 2021, life expectancy for the least developed countries lagged seven years behind the global average.
The report recommends that countries with ageing populations should take steps to adapt public programmes to the growing numbers of older persons, establish universal health care and long-term care systems, and improve the sustainability of social security and pension systems.
“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,” said Mr John Wilmoth, Director of the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).
“This year’s World Population Day falls during a milestone year when we anticipate the birth of the Earth’s eight billionth inhabitant”, said UN Secretary-General Mr António Guterres, reacting to the report’s findings.