World population projected to reach 8 billion in late 2022
World population still growing, but more slowly
World Population Day was Monday, July 11. And the United Nations used the occasion to release a new report – World Population Prospects 2022 – which projects that human population will reach the 8 billion mark on November 15 of this year. This work also suggests that India is on course to surpass China as the world’s most populous country in 2023.
More growth ahead
The report suggests that human population could grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030, and to 9.7 billion in 2050, before reaching a peak of around 10.4 billion people during the 2080s. According to the work of the UN scientists, human population might then remain fairly stable until at least 2100. The UN said:
This latest assessment considers the results of 1,758 national population censuses conducted between 1950 and 2022, as well as information from vital registration systems and from 2,890 nationally representative sample surveys The 2022 revision also presents population projections to the year 2100 that reflect a range of plausible outcomes at the global, regional and national levels.
The report is the 27th edition of official United Nations population estimates.
But slowest growth rate since the ’50s
But, although the overall trend is still upward, the UN said the rate of population growth has slowed. The rate is slowest since 1950, it said:
…having fallen to less than one per cent in 2020.
The UN also said:
Fertility, the report declares, has fallen markedly in recent decades for many countries. Today, two-thirds of the global population lives in a country or area where lifetime fertility is below 2.1 births per woman. That’s roughly the level required for zero growth in the long run, for a population with low mortality.
The new UN report suggests that, in 61 countries or areas, the population is expected to decrease by at least one per cent over the next three decades, as a result of sustained low levels of fertility and, in some cases, elevated rates of emigration, that is, people leaving their own country.
High or low mortality in a given country is also a factor in that country’s overall population growth: the longer people live, the more time they have to be counted.
And, as expected, the COVID-19 pandemic has had an effect on population change:
… global life expectancy at birth fell to 71 years in 2021 (down from 72.9 in 2019). And, in some countries, successive waves of the pandemic might have produced short-term reductions in numbers of pregnancies and births.
Growth concentrated in just a few places
More than half of the projected increase in the global population up to 2050 will be concentrated in eight countries, according to the UN’s projections: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and the United Republic of Tanzania.
It said that countries of sub-Saharan Africa are expected to contribute more than half of the increase anticipated through 2050.
One important facet of population growth is the graying of human populations. When growth rate falls, and fewer babies are born, the average age of the population shifts toward older age (and that fact, in itself, brings with it a host of issues).
Countries with higher birth rates, on the other, like Africa, have greater populations of young people. John Wilmoth, director of the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, commented:
Further actions by governments aimed at reducing fertility would have little impact on the pace of population growth between now and mid-century, because of the youthful age structure of today’s global population.
But, he pointed out:
… the cumulative effect of lower fertility, if maintained over several decades, could be a more substantial deceleration of global population growth in the second half of the century.
Something to think about, no matter where you live on Earth, and also for us here in the U.S., where the issue of women’s reproductive rights has taken a turn.
Bottom line: A UN report issued on World Population Day estimates that human population will reach the 8 billion mark on November 15, 2022.