ADDIS ABABA – The global population has reached 8 billion, according to World Population Prospects 2022 which projected India to surpass China as the world’s most populous country in 2023.
“This year’s World Population Day falls during a milestone year when we anticipate the birth of the Earth’s eight billionth inhabitant,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
“This is an occasion to celebrate our diversity, recognize our common humanity, and marvel at advancements in health that have extended lifespans and dramatically reduced maternal and child mortality rates,” he added.
The global population is growing at its slowest rate since 1950, having fallen under 1 percent in 2020.
The latest projections by the United Nations suggest that the world’s population could grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030 and 9.7 billion in 2050.
It is projected to reach a peak of around 10.4 billion people during the 2080s and to remain at that level until 2100.
World Population Prospects 2022 also states that fertility has fallen markedly in recent decades for many countries.
Today, two-thirds of the global population lives in a country or area where lifetime fertility is below 2.1 births per woman, roughly the level required for zero growth in the long run for a population with low mortality.
The report further states that the populations of 61 countries or areas are projected to decrease by 1 percent or more between 2022 and 2050, owing to sustained low levels of fertility and, in some cases, elevated rates of emigration.
More than half of the projected increase in the global population up to 2050 will be concentrated in eight countries: the DR Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Tanzania.
The share of the global population at ages 65 and above is projected to rise from 10 percent in 2022 to 16 percent in 2050.
“At that point, it is expected that the number of persons aged 65 years or over worldwide will be more than twice the number of children under age 5 and about the same as the number under age 12,” the report claims.
Countries with aging populations are advised to take steps to adapt public programs to the growing numbers of older persons, including by establishing universal health care and long-term care systems/
Global life expectancy at birth reached 72.8 years in 2019, an improvement of almost 9 years since 1990.
Further reductions in mortality are projected to result in average global longevity of around 77.2 years in 2050. Yet in 2021, life expectancy for the least developed countries lagged 7 years behind the global average.
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