World Population Day, July 11, is just around the corner. It was established in 1989 by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Program to turn our focus to population issues.
At the time of the first World Population Day, about 5.25 billion people trod the Earth. Now, about 7.7 billion of us share the globe, and the number is expected to increase to 8.5 billion by 2030. By 2100, it is projected that the population will be above 11 billion, more than double the population on the first World Population Day 30 years ago.
To identify the countries with the fastest-growing populations, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the 2018 World Population Data Sheet produced by the Population Reference Bureau (PRB).
Today’s largest countries in population – China, India, and the United States – are expected to remain among the most populous, though their growth rates are not among the fastest. According to data recently released by the population data-gathering organization Population Reference Bureau, that distinction belongs to 20 countries in Africa and Asia, where populations have surged in recent years.
The rapid population growth is expected to continue into 2050, fueled by increased life expectancy and declining mortality and high fertility rates associated with a largely youthful – and booming – population.
Bigger populations can create strain in lots of different areas of society. Poverty is an ever-present reality in many of the countries with the fastest-growing populations: 15 of the 20 have per capita GDP PPPs below $5,000. Increased family sizes can strain meager financial resources beyond imagination.
Burgeoning populations can increase pressure on the land and natural resources, as evidenced in places such as Chad and Burundi, which are among the countries doing the least to protect the environment.
Family planning was recognized as a human right half a century ago, with standards established to uphold that right. But access to family planning information can be costly, and funding for programs has been cut in recent years.
Quality of life can suffer, as in South Sudan, where an ongoing civil war has made that nation one of the most miserable places on Earth.