Our Global Population

Can we continue sharing the world with so many others?

While public concern about rapid population growth has subsided in recent years, the world population is growing at about 80 million people a year. Global population is currently 7.6 billion and it is predicted that by 2030 the global population will reach 8.9 billion. This projected population growth will have consequences for the future of our planet. 

Population growth varies from continent to continent, with Africa and Asia having the fastest growing populations. In Africa, the improvements in public health since the middle of the last century led to a decrease in child mortality rates. However, the number of children the average African woman is likely to have in her lifetime, or total fertility rate – remains much higher than global rates (2.5 children per woman globally, 4.7 children per woman in Africa.) These two factors are the main contributors to the rapid growth in population Africa is currently experiencing

Populations are also rising because more and more countries have ageing populations. In the last century, life expectancy has nearly doubled in some countries and in India it almost tripled from 24 years to 68 years. Countries like Germany that have ageing populations are faced with a shrinking labour force and a heavy welfare burden – this puts a lot of strain on the economy.

As populations shift, the world as we know it will change. Today’s more dominant and developed countries will be increasingly focused on supporting the elderly; whereas less developed countries will be overwhelmed by population booms. It is predicted that Africa’s current population of 1.2 billion will double by 2050 and this will inevitably have huge effect on the continent’s economic development. A larger population can be a burden as there are more people to house, educate and feed but it is also a huge opportunity as a large working age population can help boost the economy if there are enough jobs and if there is a strong enough economic framework.

Camillia VII