World population to reach 9.9 billion by 2050

The world population will reach 9.9 billion in 2050, according to projections included in the latest World Population Data Sheet from the Population Reference Bureau (PRB).

The world population is expected to reach 10 billion by 2053 | Photo credit: Training Journal

By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

29 Aug 2016

The world population will reach 9.9 billion in 2050, up 33 per cent from an estimated 7.4 billion now, according to projections included in the latest World Population Data Sheet from the Population Reference Bureau (PRB).

The world population would hit the 10 billion mark in 2053 if the assumptions underlying PRB's 2050 projections are applied to subsequent years.

Such rapid population growth will, according to the EU, "compound the challenges to reaching Sustainable Development Goals."


According to an EU source, such projections will have a direct impact on Europe and EU policymaking.

The source said, "For example, there is the shrinking EU population and the potential for more migratory pressure from those countries where the birthdate won't slow as fast as the UN predicts."

He added, "And, of course, there is the key question of how to feed a planet of 10 billion?"

Further reaction to the findings came from Jeffrey Jordan, President and CEO of PRB, who said, "Despite declines in fertility rates around the world, we expect population gains to remain strong enough to take us toward a global population of 10 billion.

"Significant regional differences remain, though. For example, very low birth rates in Europe will mean population declines there while Africa's population is expected to double."

PRB's projections show Africa's population will reach 2.5 billion by 2050, while the number of people in the Americas will rise by only 223 million to 1.2 billion. 

Asia will gain about 900 million to 5.3 billion, while Europe registers a decline from 740 million to 728 million. Oceania (which includes Australia and New Zealand) would rise from 40 million to 66 million. 

PRB's data sheet has been produced annually since 1962. This year's edition provides the latest data on 19 key population, health, and environment indicators for the world, major regions, and more than 200 countries. 

PRB also added six indicators and analytical graphics that explore the balance between providing for human needs and sustainably managing the natural resources on which people depend. 

The data sheet's mid-century population projections indicate that the combined population of the world's least developed countries in the world will double by 2050 to 1.9 billion. There are 48 least developed countries, based on United Nations criteria, most of which are in Africa.

The data sheet also says the population in 29 countries will more than double. Nearly all of these countries are in Africa. In Niger, the country with the highest birth rate, the population will more than triple.

In addition, forty-two countries will register population declines. These countries are scattered throughout Asia, Latin America, and Europe. Some European countries will post significant declines, such as Romania, which is projected to have a population of 14 million in 2050, down from 20 million today and

Meanwhile, the population of the United States will be 398 million, up 23 percent from 324 million today.


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