13 June 2013 – The current world population of 7.2 billion is projected to increase by 1 million over the next 12 years and reach 9.6 billion by 2050, according to a United Nations report launched today, which points out that growth will be mainly in developing countries, with more than half in Africa.
“Although population growth has slowed for the world as a whole, this report reminds us that some developing countries, especially in Africa, are still growing rapidly,” said the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Wu Hongbo in a press release on the report.
The report, World Population Prospects: the 2012 Revision, notes that the population of developed regions will remain largely unchanged at around 1.3 billion from now until 2050. In contrast, the 49 least developed countries are projected to double in size from around 900 million people in 2013 to 1.8 billion in 2050.
Compared to previous assessments of world population trends, the new projected total population is higher, mainly due to new information obtained on fertility levels of certain countries. For example, in 15 high-fertility countries of sub-Saharan Africa, the estimated average number of children per woman has been adjusted upwards by more than 5 per cent.
“In some cases, the actual level of fertility appears to have risen in recent years; in other cases, the previous estimate was too low,” said the Director of the Population Division in the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs, John Wilmoth, during a press conference in New York.
“While there has been a rapid fall in the average number of children per woman in large developing countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Brazil and South Africa […] rapid growth is expected to continue over the next few decades in countries with high levels of fertility such as Nigeria, Niger, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia and Uganda but also Afghanistan and Timor-Leste, where there are more than five children per woman.”
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