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Global population to peak in 2080 – UN report

18 July 20220 comments

The global population will reach eight billion people later this year and continue to rise for the next six decades, according to the UN’s latest population report.

The World Population Prospects 2022 report, from the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division says that the global population is expected to reach eight billion by November 15, this year.

It will be around 8.5 billion by 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050 and 10.4 billion in 2100, meaning Earth could have a 31 per cent increase in human population by the end of the century. 

The estimated population growth comes as the world’s average fertility rate continues to decline.

In 2020, the global population growth rate fell below 1 per cent for the first time since 1950. Currently, it’s at 2.3 births per woman, down from the average five births per woman in 1950. By 2050, it’s expected to slightly fall to 2.1 births per woman.

But the report says the world’s population may peak at 10.4 billion by 2080. This amounts to a reduction in the projected peak world population by about 800 million and brought forward the date for this peak by 20 years.

The UN’s projections are now much closer to those by researchers at the University of Washington, who suggested two years ago that the human population would peak at significantly less than 10 billion by 2065, decline to less than nine billion by 2100 and keep declining – the current world population is about eight billion.

The UN projections are higher largely due to an assumption that fertility rates in low fertility nations such as China and Japan will gradually rebound.

And factors such as the rise of life expectancy are also reasons why the global population continues to rise. 

“Globally, life expectancy reached 72.8 years in 2019, an increase of almost 9 years since 1990. Further reductions in mortality are projected to result in an average longevity of around 77.2 years globally in 2050,” the report says.

“Two-thirds of the projected increase in global population through 2050 will be driven by the momentum of past growth that is embedded in the youthful age structure of the current population. Such growth would occur even if childbearing in today’s high-fertility countries were to fall immediately to around two births per woman,” it says.

People ages 65 and older are expected to account for 16 per cent of the human population by 2050, up from 10 per cent in 2022. Men currently make up 50.3 per cent of the population, but by 2050, there are expected to be just as many women as men. 

China has been the most populous country for decades, but India is projected to be the world’s most populous country in 2023.

Each country currently has a population over 1.4 billion people, accounting for over 35 per cent of the global population, but China’s population is expected to start declining as early as next year. 

By 2050, India is projected to have 1.6 billion people, while China is projected to have 1.3 billion people.

India is just one of eight countries – including the Philippines, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Pakistan and the United Republic of Tanzania – expected to see major population growth by 2050.

The increase in several sub-Saharan countries is expected to result in the population doubling in the area. 

On the other side of the population equation, 61 countries are expected to have a population decrease of at least 1 per cent. Of that list, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Serbia and Ukraine are projected to lose at least 20 per cent of their population.

The report predicts Australia and New Zealand will have a combined population of 38 million by 2050.

North America is projected by the UN to reach its peak population in the late-2030s and then start declining “due to sustained low levels of fertility”.

The US’ population is currently 337 million people and it is projected to be at 375 million people in 2050, still making it the third most populous country in the world, behind India and China.

See the full report here: World Population Prospects – Population Division – United Nations