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Pakistan, eight other countries to account for half of population growth by 2050

Updated June 19, 2019

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The world’s population is expected to increase from 7.7 billion currently to 9.7bn by 2050, and Pakistan will be among the nine countries where more than half of the projected increase will be concentrated, according to projections released by the United Nations.   — AFP/File
The world’s population is expected to increase from 7.7 billion currently to 9.7bn by 2050, and Pakistan will be among the nine countries where more than half of the projected increase will be concentrated, according to projections released by the United Nations. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The world’s population is expected to increase from 7.7 billion currently to 9.7bn by 2050, and Pakistan will be among the nine countries where more than half of the projected increase will be concentrated, according to projections released by the United Nations.

According to the World Population Prospects 2019 released by the UN Population Division, the population of Pakistan currently is 217 million, which is 12 million (5.9 per cent) more than the previous estimate from the 2017 revision. The population was revised based on the new results of the 2017 census. Previous assessments of total fertility rate and life expectancy at birth were revised slightly upward.

Between now and 2050, the other eight countries that will make up more than half the projected growth of the global population are India, Nigeria, Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Indonesia, Egypt and the United States. Around 2027, India is projected to overtake China as the world’s most populous country.

The populations of both Pakistan and Nigeria more than doubled in size between 1990 and 2019, with Pakistan moving up to the fifth position from eighth and Nigeria from 10th to the seventh position.

After this re-ordering between 2019 and 2050, the ranking of the five largest countries is projected to be preserved through the end of the century, when India could become the world’s most populous country with nearly 1.5bn inhabitants, followed by China with just under 1.1bn, Nigeria with 733m, the US with 434m, and Pakistan with 403m inhabitants.

Two-thirds of the projected growth of the global population through 2050 will be driven by current age structures.

It would occur even if childbearing in high-fertility countries today were to fall immediately to around two births per woman over a lifetime.

Globally, the generation of young people now entering their reproductive years is larger than their parents’ generation.

Thus, even if the global level of fertility were to fall immediately to around two births per woman, the number of births would still exceed the number of deaths for several decades, and the world’s population would continue to grow.

In 2019, around 40pc of the world’s population lives in intermediate-fertility countries, where women have on average between 2.1 and four births over a lifetime.

Intermediate-fertility countries are found in many regions, with the largest being India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Mexico, the Philippines and Egypt.

In 2050, it is expected that slightly less than 30pc of the world’s population will live in countries with fertility in this range.

Published in Dawn, June 19th, 2019