Magazine article UN Chronicle

Population 2050: 9.4 Billion

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Population 2050: 9.4 Billion

Article excerpt

In the middle of 1996, world population stood at 5.77 trillion persons. Between 1990 and 1995, it grew at the rate of 1.48 per cent per annum, with an average of 81 million persons added each year. This is below the 1.72 per cent per annum at which population had keen growing between 1975 and 1990, and much below the 87 million added each year between 1985 and 1990, which now stands as the peak period in the history of world population growth.

These figures are from the recently released 1996 Revision of the official United Nations population estimates and projections, prepared by the Population Division of the Department for Economic and Social Information and Policy Analysis.

The report indicates that currently 4.59 billion persons--80 per cent of the world's population--live in the less developed regions and 1.18 billion live in the more developed regions. The average annual growth rate is about 1.8 per cent in the less developed and 0.4 per cent in other regions.

The 1996 Revision presents the estimates from 1950 to 1995, and the projections from 1995 to 2050 for the population of the 228 countries and areas of the world. These range from Pitcairn, with 66 residents, to China, with 1.232 billion persons. According to the United Nations, the countries with the largest population after China are India (945 million), the United States (269 million) and Indonesia (200 million). Six other countries have populations of more than 100 million: Brazil (161 million); the Russian Federation (148 million); Pakistan (140 million); Japan (125 million); Bangladesh (120 million); and Nigeria (115 million).

Those 10 nations are the only ones whose populations have currently exceeded the 100 million mark. According to the medium-fertility variant projection, by the year 2050, seven more countries will have crossed that mark: Ethiopia, Iran, Zaire, Mexico, Philippines, Viet Nam and Egypt.

The world population in 1995 is 29 million fewer than expected in the 1994 Revision. Officials say the reduction in the expected growth rate results from a faster fertility decline than previously anticipated. A major consequence is that the world population projected in the medium-fertility variant, the one usually considered the most likely, will be 9. …

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