World Population Growth, 2014

You are here:
< Back

… the global population is projected to grow from 7.2 billion to 9.6 billion by 2050

The global rate of population growth has already peaked, but population is still projected to grow, from 7.2 billion today. The UN’s central estimate is that there will be 9.6 billion people by 2050. Between now and 2050 it is also predicted that the fastest growth in population will shift from Asia to Africa. Meanwhile, in developed economies, there are concerns about falling birth rates now, and therefore a decline in the working problem in decades to come that can support an aging population.

In common with this, and other global trend analyses WBCSD Vision 2050 anticipates a population of around 9 billion in 2050, with a shift and expansion in the global economy towards countries such as Brazil, China, India and Russia.

UN Global Population Projection 2012 by region The central estimate, shown here, is for a global population to grow from 7.2 billion in 2013 to 9.6 billion by 2050. with most of the growth in Asia and then Africa. Oceana is just visable at the bottom of the graph. If the assumptions in the latest 2014 models are correct, there is a 4 in 5 chance that the population in 2050 will lie between 9 and 10 billion. Source: UN ESA (2012, 2013), Gerland et al. (2014).

Although a lower rate of increase might make it easier to have the total population live well, abrupt changes can bring unintended consequences. For example, one result of China’s ‘one-child’ policy, is that the working population is now set to fall sharply, affecting wealth-generating potential.

A global increase or decrease of, on average, 0.5 children per woman is projected to result in 1.3 billion more or fewer people in the global population in 2050. In 2014 the latest calculations left the central projections unchanged but suggested that the range of uncertainty associated with these estimates can be reduced considerably. This new evaluation projects that there is a 4 in 5 chance that global population will be between 9 and 10 million by 2050 if the model assumptions turn out to be correct. The UN projection also suggest that population will continue to grow beyond 2050. But perhaps more significant, in terms of global impact are the projected shifts and increases in global income over the next 35 years, and it is to these that we turn next,

2014, MMG/SNJ