Currently, the world population continues to grow though more slowly than in the recent past. Ten years ago, world population was growing by 1.24 per cent per year. Today, it is growing by 1.18 per cent per year, or approximately an additional 83 million people annually. The world population is projected to increase by more than one billion people within the next 15 years, reaching 8.5 billion in 2030, and to increase further to 9.7 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion by 2100 (figure 2).
- In July 2015, world population reached 7.3 billion. The world has added one billion people since 2003 and two billion since 1990. In 2015, 50.4 per cent of the world was male and 49.6 per cent was female. In 2015, 9.1 per cent of the world’s population was under age 5, 26.1 per cent was under age 15, 12.3 per cent was 60 or over and 1.7 per cent was 80 or over.
- In 2016, it is projected that 83 million people will be added to the world’s population. Even assuming that fertility levels will continue to decline, the global population is still expected to reach 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100, according to the medium projection variant.
- Continued population growth until 2050 is almost inevitable, even if the decline of fertility accelerates. There is an 80 per cent probability that the population of world will be between 8.4 and 8.6 billion in 2030, between 9.4 and 10 billion in 2050 and between 10 and 12.5 billion in 2100.
- Future population growth is highly dependent on the path that future fertility will take, as relatively small changes in fertility behaviour, when projected over several decades, can generate large differences in total population. In the medium-variant projection, global fertility declines from 2.5 children per women in 2010-2015 to 2.25 children per women in 2045-2050 and 2.0 children per women in 2095-2100. If fertility were to be consistently half a child above those levels, world population would reach 10.8 billion by 2050 and 16.6 billion by 2100. Fertility levels consistently half a child below the medium variant would lead to a population of 8.7 billion by mid-century and 7.3 billion by 2100.
- In recent years, fertility has declined in virtually all major areas of the world. In Africa, where fertility levels are the highest of any major area, total fertility has fallen from 4.9 children per woman in 2005-2010 to 4.7 children per woman in 2010-2015. Fertility levels have also fallen in Asia and Oceania over the same period, from 2.3 to 2.2 children per woman in Asia and from 2.5 to 2.4 children per woman in Oceania. Recent fertility declines have been slightly larger in Latin America and the Caribbean where fertility has fallen from 2.3 to 2.15 and in Northern America where fertility has fallen from 2.0 in 2005-2010 to 1.86 in 2010-2015. Europe is the only major area that was an exception to this trend. In recent years, total fertility in Europe has increased slightly from 1.55 children per woman in 2005-2010 to 1.6 children per woman in 2010-2015.
- The 48 least developed countries (LDCs) as a whole still have high total fertility (4.3 children per woman in 2010-2015) and fast growing populations, at 2.4 per cent per year. Although this rate of increase is expected to slow significantly over the next decades, the population of the LDCs, 954 million in 2015, is projected to increase 39 per cent between 2015 and 2030, and to double to 1.9 billion persons by mid-century.
- The slowdown in population growth brought about by a reduction in fertility is associated with population ageing; that is, as the population growth rate falls over time, the proportion of older persons increases while that of younger persons decreases. In 2015, there were more than twice as many children under the age of 15 in the world as there are older persons aged 60 or above. By 2050, however, there will be almost complete global parity between the number of older persons aged 60 and above and the number of children under the age of 15.
- In Europe, 24 per cent of the population is already aged 60 years or over and that proportion is projected to reach 34 per cent in 2050 and 35 per cent in 2100. Other major areas of the world are also projected to experience significant population ageing over the next several decades. For Latin America and the Caribbean, the population will be transformed from having just 11 per cent of the total aged 60 or over in 2015 to having 26 per cent aged 60 or over by 2050. Similarly, Asia is expected to shift from 12 per cent aged 60 or over to 25 per cent by 2050, Northern America from 21 per cent to 28 percent by 2050, and Oceania from 16 per cent to 23 per cent by 2050. Africa has the youngest age distribution of any major area. Nevertheless, it is also projected to age rapidly over the next 35 years, with the percentage of its population aged 60 or over rising from 5 per cent in 2015 to 9 per cent by 2050.
- Globally, the number of persons aged 60 and above is expected to more than double by 2050 and more than triple by 2100, increasing from 901 million in 2015 to 2.1 billion in 2050 and 3.2 billion in 2100. Sixty-six per cent of the increase between 2015 and 2050 will occur in Asia, 13 per cent in Africa, 11 per cent in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the remaining 10 per cent in other areas.
- The number of persons aged 80 or over is projected to more than triple by 2050 and to increase more than seven-fold by 2100. Globally, the number of persons aged 80 or over is projected to increase from 125 million in 2015 to 434 million in 2050 and 944 million in 2100. In 2015, 28 per cent of all persons aged 80 and over lived in Europe, but that share is expected to decline to 16 per cent by 2050 and 9 per cent by 2100 as the populations of other major areas continue to increase in size and to grow older themselves.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at World Population Prospects – Population Division – United Nations