Alexa

UN says world population will hit 7 billion in '12

UN says world population will hit 7 billion in '12

The world's population will hit 7 billion early in 2012 and top 9 billion in 2050, with the vast majority of the increase in developing countries in Asia and Africa, according to revised U.N. population estimates released Wednesday.
Launching the report, Hania Zlotnik, the director of the U.N. Population Division, said "there have been no big changes" from the previous estimates in 2006 "and we have not changed the assumptions for the future."
"We are still projecting that by 2050 the population of the world will be around 9.1 billion," she told a press conference. "The projections are based on the assumption that fertility that is now around 2.56 children per woman is going to decline to about 2.02 children per woman in the world."
But Zlotnik said if fertility was to remain about half a child above the level of 2.02 children per woman, then world population would reach 10.5 billion by 2050, and if fertility fell half a child below that level, then the population would only increase to 8 billion by mid-century.
According to the latest U.N. estimates, population growth will remain concentrated in the most populous countries from 2010-2050 with nine nations expected to account for half the projected increase. India tops the list followed by Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, the United States, Congo, Tanzania, China and Bangladesh.
In sharp contrast, the populations of 45 countries or regions are expected to decline by at least 10 percent during the same period including Russia, Japan, Italy, South Korea, Cuba, Ukraine and many other countries that were once part of the Soviet Union, the U.N. said.
The 2008 revision of the U.N. population estimates and projections released Wednesday incorporates the findings of the most recent national population censuses and numerous population surveys around the world, the U.N. Population Division said. In addition to a continuing decline in family size, the U.N. said the projected population trends also depend on achieving a major increase in the number of AIDS patients using anti-retroviral drug treatments and on the success of efforts to control the spread of the HIV virus.
Zlotnik said the "good news" is that new data has indicated that "the HIV/AIDS epidemic is not as bad as had been expected."
The U.N.'s 2006 report, released in March 2007, projected that the world's population would likely reach 9.2 billion in 2050.
The new report projected a slightly lower population of 9.1 billion at mid-century. It forecast that the world's population will reach 6.8 million in July _ an increase of 313 million since 2005 _ and climb to 7 billion early in 2012.
Over the next four decades, the U.N. said, the population of richer more developed regions is expected to increase minimally from 1.23 billion to 1.28 billion while the population of developing countries is projected to rise from 5.6 billion in 2009 to 7.9 billion in 2050.
Zlotnik said another piece of "good news" is that fertility levels in the developed world that have been extremely low in the past decade or so "went up in the last five years slightly more than we expected before" _ from 1.58 children per woman to 1.64 children.
But Zlotnik stressed that to prevent an overall decline in population, richer countries are "very dependent on having continuing migration to the developing world which we project at averaging about 2.4 million people per year."
The 49 poorest countries continue to have the fastest growing population in the world, and the population of these least developed nations is projected to double from 840 million in 2009 to 1.7 billlion in 2050, the U.N. said.
The population of these poor countries is young, with 29 percent under the age of 15, and 19 percent aged 15-24 _ an all time high that poses a challenge for governments in providing education and jobs during the current global financial crisis, the U.N. said.
By contrast, in more developed countries children under the age of 15 account for just 17 percent of the population and young people aged 15-24 for just 13 percent, it said.
As population increases, the world is also aging, the U.N. said.
In the richer developed world, the over-60 population is growing at the fastest pace ever _ 1.9 percent annually _ and is projected to climb from 264 million in 2009 to 416 million in 2050, the U.N. said. The population over the age of 60 is also projected to increase dramatically in the developing world, rising from 475 million in 2009 to 1.6 billion in 2050, the U.N. said.