Population Matters

The Other World Population Day

August 13th, 2009

World Population Day is July 11th every year, but for anyone seriously interested in the subject of population, yesterday was the other world population day. Yesterday, the Population Reference Bureau released its annual World Population Data Sheet, a detailed compilation of analysis and data on country, regional and global population patterns.

This year’s PRB release focuses on the growing youth population (ages 15-24)  in Africa and Asia, but the data sheet and the accompanying report,contain a number of important findings and projections:

  • World population is still growing rapidly. PRB’s projection shows world population, currently, 6.8 billion, reaching 9.4 billion in 2050, notably higher than the U.N.’s 2008 projection of 9.1. billion.
  • Global population is “on track to reach 7 billion in 2011, just 12 years after reaching 6 billion in 1999.”
  • Ninety percent of the world’s 1.2 billion youth are in developing countries. Eighty-two percent live in Asia or Africa, and that trend is accelerating.
  • The average number of lifetime births (total fertility rate or TFR) for women in the world’s poorest countries is 4.6 percent.
  • It’s projected that two of the poorest nations in the world, Uganda and Niger, will more triple their populations over the next 40 years.
  • The average number of lifetime births for women (TFR) has dipped in Afghanistan to 5.7, but it’s population is still projected to nearly double over the next 40 years, jumping from 28.4 million today to 53.4 million by 2050.
  • Pakistan’s population is projected to jump from 181 million in 2009 to 335 million by 2050.
  • In response to government financial incentives, Russian birthrates have risen in recent years, but its TFR (1.5) is still below the replacement rate.  Russia’s population is projected to drop from 142 million top 117 million by 2050.
  • The U.S. has the “highest teenage fertility rate in the developed world and 82 percent of U.S. teen pregnancies are unplanned.”

Congratulations to PRB for its continuing contribution to an informed public debate on population.

Posted by Robert J. Walker, Executive Vice President

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