World population will reach 8 billion by November

New projections from the United Nations Department of Social and Economic Affairs show that the world’s population is expected to reach 8 billion on November 15 – although population growth is at its lowest in decades, with rates falling below 1% in 2020.

Released on Monday, the agency’s “World Population Prospects” report projects that India will overtake China as the world’s most populous country by 2023 – a shift, in part due to China’s aging population and of the history of birth control.

India introduced national family planning programs in 1952. Although these programs may seem less effective in reducing birth rates compared to China’s one-child policy, the South Asian nation now has a population that varies by age, while China has a disproportionately older population.

“Distribution really matters,” said John Wilmoth, director of the population division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. “It’s a slower reduction in growth that results in a less abrupt change in age distribution. In the end, this may be to India’s advantage.

According to India’s local census, the country’s population was 1.21 billion in 2011. The government had postponed the 2021 census due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In India, a debate on population control turns explosive

In the short term, the population of 61 countries around the world is expected to decline by 1% or more by 2050, with the rest of the world either stable or with growing populations.

However, population gains are surprisingly uneven, with just eight countries accounting for more than half of global population growth before 2050 – among them the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and Tanzania.

Longer-term projections from the United Nations show that later in the century, more countries are expected to see population growth peak, before declining.

Other recent studies by the United Nations have shown that by the end of the century, Africa will be the only continent to experience population growth, with 13 of the world’s 20 largest urban areas expected to be based there.

How Africa will become the center of the global urban future

With recent reductions in fertility, countries in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean will continue to be dominated by a high proportion of working-age people between the ages of 25 and 64.

This change, called the “demographic dividend”, shows that countries are likely to experience accelerated economic growth per capita, although the growing number of aging residents may pose challenges for places where access to health care is scarce, as the burden will fall on working-age citizens to assume the bulk of care for the elderly.

“Rapid population growth makes it more difficult to eradicate poverty, fight hunger and malnutrition, and increase the coverage of health and education systems,” said Liu Zhenmin, Undersecretary General of United Nations for Economic and Social Affairs. “Conversely, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, especially those related to health, education and gender equality, will help reduce fertility levels and slow global population growth.

The coronavirus also plays a role in stagnating population growth.

From January 2020 to December 2021, 14.9 million people died from covid-related problems, according to the World Health Organization. Global life expectancy at birth has fallen from 72.8 years to 71 years. Covid had also potentially produced short-term reductions in pregnancies and births. And with more restrictions on cross-border activity, migration rates have also fallen – a key driver of population growth in developed countries.

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