The UN’s “World Population Prospects” report released on Monday predicts that the world’s population will grow by nearly 2 billion people over the next 26 years. Although the world’s population is getting older and growing at a slower pace, it is still expected to increase, as a few countries will experience a surge in population.
The report predicts that by 2050, more than half the world’s population will be concentrated in India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Indonesia, Egypt and the United States. India is expected to overtake China as the world’s most populous country by 2027. China is expected to see its population drop by 2.2% between 2019 and 2050.
The report recommended that countries adopt policies according to demographic projections, including assistance for children and the elderly, and employment and education opportunities for country’s with a growing working-age population.
The report also predicted that the world population could peak at nearly 11 billion by 2100.
Opportunities and challenges of growth
The UN said that the world’s 47 least-developed countries are among the fastest growing, and this burgeoning population will present challenges to sustainable development.
Lu Zhenmin, UN undersecretary-general for economic and social affairs, was quoted by the Associated Press as saying that “growth brings additional challenges” in the effort to eradicate poverty, promote gender equality and improve health care and education.
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At the same time, lower fertility levels have increased the working-age population in developing parts of the world, including sub-Saharan Africa, parts of Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. The UN said more working-age people could present these regions an opportunity for sustained growth.
“To benefit from this ‘demographic dividend,’ governments should invest in education and health, especially for young people, and create conditions conducive to sustained economic growth,” the report said.