The world's population will increase to 9.7 billion by 2050, going up by 2 bn from the earlier 7.7 bn, shows a new United Nations report launched on Monday. The global population could reach its peak around the end of the current century, with an estimated population of 11 bn.
India is projected to overtake China as the world's most populous country in next 8 years, according to the report. The global fertility rate, which fell from 3.2 births per woman in 1990 to 2.5 in 2019, will decline further to 2.2 in 2050. India's current total fertility rate stands at 2.2 births per woman.
Nine countries will make up more than half of the projected growth of the global population between now and 2050: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, the United Republic of Tanzania, Indonesia, Egypt and the United States of America.
The population of sub-Saharan Africa is projected to double by 2050, up 99%. Regions that may experience lower rates of population growth between 2019 and 2050 include Oceania excluding Australia/New Zealand (56%), Northern Africa and Western Asia (46%), Australia/New Zealand (28%), Central and Southern Asia (25%), Latin America and the Caribbean (18%), Eastern and South Eastern Asia (3%), and Europe and Northern America (2%). People are growing older due to increasing life expectancy and falling fertility levels, and that the number of countries experiencing a reduction in population size is growing.
"Many of the fastest growing populations are in the poorest countries, where population growth brings additional challenges in the effort to eradicate poverty, achieve greater equality, combat hunger and malnutrition and strengthen the coverage and quality of health and education systems to ensure that no one is left behind," said Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs.
In the poorest of countries, people still live seven years less than the global average.
"In 2019, life expectancy at birth in the least developed countries lags 7.4 years behind the global average, due largely to persistently high levels of child and maternal mortality, as well as violence, conflict and the continuing impact of the HIV epidemic," says the report.
The World Population Prospects 2019: Highlights, which is published by the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, provides a comprehensive overview of global demographic patterns and prospects.