Global population – Faces of the future

from The Economist..

June 22, 2013 | From the print edition


THE UN’s latest World Population Prospects forecasts a rise from 7.2 billion people today to 9.6 billion in 2050—300m more than it had previously estimated. This reflects increasing fertility rates in populous countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. More than half of the extra 2.4 billion will be African, accounting for 25% of the total, up from 16% now.

Europe will be the only region to shrink, with the biggest falls in former Soviet countries. Bulgaria and Russia are among the worst hit. Back in 1950 Europe had 22% of the world’s 2.5 billion people and Germany, Britain and Italy were among the ten most populous countries.

The UN forecasts that India will swell to 1.6 billion people, overtaking China in 2028, just as population there is peaking. Changes in fertility make long-term projections tricky, but the UN reckons that by 2100 the planet’s population will be rising past 10.9 billion, and be much older. The median age will go up from 29 to 41, and around 28% will be over 60. A few may even remember this article.

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