Africa will be home to half of world’s 11b population by 2100, UN study claims

John-Wilmoth

John R. Wilmoth

Nigerians to increase from 182m to 752m by 2100 

A UNITED Nations (UN) study has predicted that the global population is set to reach 11 billion by the end of the century – and Africans will make up half of this number.

According to the study just released in Seatle, United States, high fertility rate will result in a more than fourfold projected increase in Nigeria’s total population by 2100 from 182 million to 752 million people.

Director of the UN Population Division, John R. Wilmoth, told a session focused on demographic forecasting at the 2015 Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM 2015) yesterday in Seatle that the total fertility rate (TFR) has been declining in Africa over the past decade, but has been doing so at roughly one-quarter of the rate at which it declined in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean in the 1970s.

According to the study, in some African countries, the TFR decline appears to have stalled. For example, in Nigeria, the continent’s most-populous country, the high fertility rate would result in a more than fourfold projected increase in total population by 2100 from 182 million to 752 million people.

Wilmoth said although there is considerable uncertainty about these future trends, there is a 90 per cent chance Nigeria’s population will exceed 439 million people in 2100, which is nearly 2.5 times its current size. Wilmoth’s presentation- “Populations Projections by the United Nations”- was made as part of an invited session titled “Better Demographic Forecasts, Better Policy Decisions.”

It also predicts that by 2050, the global population will rise from 7.3 billion to 9.7 billion and by 2100, Africa’s current population of 1.2 billion is expected to explode to 5.6 billion.

The UN projection predicts such rapid growth will boost pollution, make resources scarce and fuel unemployment, poverty, crime and political unrest.

According to the UN study, Africa’s population growth is due to persistent high levels of fertility and the recent slowdown in the rate of fertility decline.

The UN projection suggests there will not be an end to world population growth this century unless there are ‘unprecedented fertility declines’ in parts of sub-Saharan Africa that are still experiencing rapid population growth.

And it estimates the probability the world population growth will end within this century to be 23 per cent. Wilmoth said according to models of demographic change derived from historical experience, it is estimated the global population will be anything between 9.5 and 13.3 billion.

The UN report examined the level of population ageing in different countries using the potential support ratio (PSR). PSR is equal to the number of people aged 20 to 64 divided by the number of people aged 65 or over. It is considered the number of workers per retiree.

Japan currently has the lowest PSR at 2.1, followed by Italy at 2.6. In the U.S., where the median age of the population is expected to increase from today’s 38 years to 44.7 years by 2100, the PSR is projected to decline from 4 to 1.9.

Other countries that will experience sharp declines in their PSR by the end of the century include Germany, from 2.9 to 1.4, China, from 7.1 to 1.4 and Mexico, 1.4 down from 8.7.

Only five countries are projected to have a PSR above 5.0 in 2100 and these include Niger, Somalia, Nigeria, Gambia and Angola. Niger is expected to have the highest PSR by the end of the century at 6.5.

In the U.S., the population is projected to add 1.5 million per year on average until the end of the century, pushing the current count of 322 million to 450 million.

While Asia, with a current population of 4.4 billion, is expected to peak around the middle of the century at 5.3 billion, and then decline to around 4.9 billion.

Looking more closely at the global projections, he continued that Asia, with a current population of 4.4 billion, is likely to remain the most populous continent.

Its population is expected to peak around the middle of the century at 5.3 billion, and then decline to 4.9 billion people by the end of the century.

These results have important policy implications for national governments. Rapid population growth in high-fertility countries can fuel a range of existing problems including pollution, a scarcity of resources, unemployment, poverty, crime and political unrest.

Elsewhere, developing countries with young populations but lower fertility – such as China, Brazil and India – face the prospect of substantial population aging before the end of the century.

The projection suggests these countries need to invest over the coming decades in provisions for the older population of the future such as social security, pensions and health care.



2 Comments
  • Marton Heart

    I know this won’t be a very popular suggestion, but if everyone born in Africa, China, India, and all Muslim & Catholic countries for the next 50 years, there will be a lot less human impact on this already crowded planet. Yes, I’ve already done my part – I’ve had a double vasectomy.

  • Stryke

    Humans are the scourge of planet Earth. Luckily I’ll be long gone.

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