We review the data on population dynamics in the world and by continents.
Recently, the development of global policies and actions have been organized around a main question: how many people are there in the world? The answer to this question also raises other questions: where are they concentrated? Where no? How much world population will there be in the long term? And … how will we face the challenges that this implies?
In other words, analyzing this has been important to estimate some of the challenges and scope of the political and economic organization today. Next we will review the estimates and analysis made more recently by the United Nations (UN).
How many people are there in the world according to the UN?
One of the great tasks of the United Nations Organization has been to estimate how many people there are in the world today, and how many there will be in the medium and long term, so that it is possible to adequately design the objectives and the implementation of social policies and economic at the international level.
In the latest demographic report, dated June 2017, the UN has estimated that the current world population is 7.6 billion people, a figure that maintains an upward trend despite the constant decline in fertility levels in several regions.
By the year 2030 the world population is projected to reach 8.6 billion people. By 2050 it will be 9.8 billion and by 2100 it will reach 11.2 billion. In other words, according to the UN, the population will increase by approximately 83 million people per year.
Likewise, and given the downward trend in fertility levels, population growth is expected to slow down. However, this creates another challenge because there is also an upward trend in the aging of the population, largely due to the fact that life expectancy has increased from 65 to 69 years in men, and from 69 to 73 in women. This constitutes one of the especially important challenges for health and social protection policies.
The most populated countries today
It is not only important to know the current population figures, but also the trends of population growth or decline between different countries in the medium term, so that it is possible to take the necessary measures in the face of the challenges that are approaching.
It is estimated that approximately 60% of the world’s population currently lives in Asia, 16% in Africa, 10% in Europe, 9% in Latin America and the Caribbean, and only 5% in North America and Oceania. Today, China and India are the countries with the most population (they account for 19% and 18% of the total), however it is estimated that by the year 2024, India will surpass China.
Another interesting fact is that Nigeria, one of the 10 most populous countries, will exceed the population of the United States in 2050, thanks to the great speed with which it is growing. In fact, Africa is the fastest growing continent.
Likewise, it is expected that population growth will soon be concentrated in the poorest countries, which also represents a huge challenge for social development, an issue that the UN remains optimistic about: it is expected that in the coming years they will improve considerably. the survival conditions of all countries.
Population growth and decline by region
Given the figures provided by the UN, it is expected that in the next 15 years the world population will increase by more than 1 billion people. These data are indicative and have been obtained based on an average of the fertility projection that compares the decrease in fertility rates in countries where there are still large families, compared to countries where the average has stabilized at two children for each woman.
Trend up: Africa
Although there is great uncertainty about fertility trends in Africa for the coming years, it is expected that this continent will continue to grow rapidly (especially in its main regions), due to the large number of young people who are concentrated in said places.
This is how Africa will be one of the key pieces in the size and global distribution in the short term; which also means that Asia will move to second place in terms of the continent with the highest population growth rates.
Significant decline in Europe
At the opposite pole, the population whose rate is falling is Europe. In 48 of the European regions the population is forecast to be declining considerably, which will be especially noticeable from this year and towards 2050.
This is because the fertility rates in this region are far below what is necessary to maintain population growth in the long term, with which it would be difficult to replace generations of inhabitants in many years.
For several decades, the replacement fertility rate in Europe (which is the term with which the minimum fertility figures necessary for the population to maintain itself over time -without considering migration-), has been well below of the necessary average of 2.1 children per woman.
However, to calculate or forecast population growth and settlements, these figures must also be considered in comparison with the mortality rate. That is why even the very concept of “replacement fertility rate” has been widely discussed by different experts, who consider it a criterion with little rigor.
The UN itself has identified three main elements in current population growth, which in turn constitute a large part of the challenges of international social programs, as well as issues of global responsibility: the fertility rate, the increase in longevity and international migration.