The global population is likely to reach 9.7 billion people 2050, according to a new UN population report.
However, the overall growth rate will continue to fall, and more countries will have to adapt to the consequences of an ageing population.
“The next 30 years will see the global population add an extra 2 billion people to today’s figure of 7.7 billion, and, by the end of the century, the planet will have to sustain around 11 billion,” the researchers said.
“India is expected to show the highest population increase between now and 2050, overtaking China as the world’s most populous country, by around 2027.
“India, along with eight other countries, will make up over half of the estimated population growth between now and 2050. In all, the population of sub-Saharan Africa is expected to practically double by 2050.”
The nine countries expected to show the biggest increase are:
- The Democratic Republic
- United States
The growth in these countries comes against the backdrop of a slowing global fertility rate. In 1990, the average number of births per woman was 3.2.
By 2019 this had fallen to 2.5 births per person and, by 2050, this is projected to decline further to 2.2 births: a fertility level of 2.1 births is necessary to avoid national population decline over the long run – in the absence of immigration.
“The population size of more and more countries is actually falling,” said the researchers.
“Since 2010, 27 countries or areas have seen a drop of at least 1%, because of persistently low fertility rates.
“Between now and 2050, that is expected to expand to 55 countries which will see a population decrease of one per cent or more, and almost half of these will experience a drop of at least 10%.”
Statistics South Africa’s latest population data shows that there were around 55.7 million people living in the country as of 2016.
The UN’s data shows that this number is expected to continue increasing over the coming decades, with the country on track to reach between 65 and 67 million people by 2030.
This is expected to increase to between 75 million – 78 million people by the year 2055 before cooling down.
While this increase may seem high, the UN’s data shows that South Africa’s population growth has already begun to slow.
From 1950-1995 the country saw an annual population growth of between 2.19% – 2.37% each year. This has fallen to 1.37% between 2015 – 2020, and is expected to drop to below 1% by 2025.