This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

New UN Population Projections Push the Number a Bit Higher in 2050

The United Nations Populations Division recently posted its latest round of world population prospects--its projections for the countries of the world--and the global expectation is a bit higher than before, going up to a projected 9.6 billion in 2050 instead of 9.3 billion as they projected a couple of years ago. This is largely due to the realization that fertility is not declining as quickly as UN demographers had previously thought. USA Today covered the story:
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.

1 comment:

  1. John Weeks - the future of the world is challenging indeed. And in the specific case of Nigeria ... it's a lot more than merely challenging. They are adding roughly 5.5 million people every year to their population. In principle, if Nigeria was very well governed and all the money earned from their oil exports was re-invested wisely in the economy - they could make it. In practice - these factors do not exist. Nigeria is actually experiencing a type of "societal collapse" due to poor governance, internal friction, and soaring crime. The country is on a collision course with a second civil war. That threat is looming ominously near for them.
    DrP, Los Angeles