John Wilmoth, director of the Population Division in the U.N.'s Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said the projected population increase will pose challenges but is not necessarily cause for alarm. Rather, he said, the worry is for countries on opposite sides of two extremes: Countries, mostly poor ones, whose populations are growing too quickly, and wealthier ones where the populations are aging and decreasing.While I might agree that these projections are not alarming, they do provide some wake-up calls, especially with respect to the continued high rates of growth in sub-Saharan Africa.
Among the fastest-growing countries is Nigeria, whose population is expected to surpass the U.S. population before the middle of the century and could start to rival China as the second-most populous country in the world by the end of the century, according to the report. By 2050, Nigeria's population is expected to reach more than 440 million people, compared to about 400 million for the U.S. The oil-rich African country's population is forecast to be nearly 914 million by 2100.
The report found that most countries with very high levels of fertility — more than 5 children per women — are on the U.N. list of least-developed countries. Most are in Africa, but they also include Afghanistan and East Timor.The future will be challenging, indeed, if these projections are anywhere close to reality.