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World Population Predictions 2005-02-28

Posted by clype in Statistics.
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The world’s population is expected to rise by 40 per cent, from the current 6 500 million to 9 100 million, by 2050, according to a report from ‘The United Nations’ (‘The UN‘).

India’s population will overtake that of China before 2030, while Britain will be bigger than France by 2025, according to the study — but one expert warns that Scotland faces a ‘worrying’ decline.

The demographic shifts highlighted by the report depend on fertility, mortality and migration, which can be influenced by government policy and social and economic trends. For example, China has been exercising a rigid birth control policy for many years, although officials there are considering relaxing it over concerns about the ageing population. India’s higher rate of fertility will see it overtake China as the world’s most populated country.

‘The UN‘ has based its prediction of Britain’s population overtaking that of France on the UK having higher inward migration. The countries have similar birth rates. The report also predicts that the population of the developed world will remain stable. By contrast, Scotland faces the reverse problem of population decline, with ‘The Registrar General for Scotland’ predicting recently that the country’s population of 5.05 million could fall to 4.84 million by 2009. Mr.Paul Boyle, a lecturer in geography at ‘The University of St.Andrews’, said:

‘Although the rise of global population is a “serious concern” — and something that needs to be “kept an eye on” — the growth rate has, in fact, slowed down in recent years.

‘The world’s population is still growing — but not as quickly.

‘Global statistics are of interest, but of more concern are the local variations.

‘For example, Britain may soon be about to overtake France, but in Scotland the population is in decline and this is much more of a worry.

‘Despite the differences in land size, Britain and France have tended to have similar population sizes throughout history’.

‘The UN‘ estimates there will be 1 395 million people in India by 2025, and 1 593 million by 2050. Meanwhile, China’s population will grow to 1 441 million by 2025, before slipping back to 1 392 million in 2050. The UK’s population will overtake that of France by 2025, rising from almost 60 million today to more than 67 million by 2050. By then, France’s population will have risen from 60.5 million to 63.1 million. Mr.Chris Shaw, a statistician in the government actuary’s department, said:

‘France and Britain have similar birth and death rates, but the UN assumes that Britain will have a higher rate of inward migration than France.

‘I don’t think it is of particular concern if Britain’s population overtakes France, as it has always been a more densely populated country.

‘In fact, if you look back 40 years, Britain had a higher population than France.

‘Looking at the global picture, the big concern has to be Africa; the high rates of population growth are problematic, given food shortages’.

‘The UN‘s’ revision of earlier estimates said the population in less-developed countries was expected to swell from 5 300 million today to 7 800 million in 2050. By contrast, the population of richer, developed countries will remain mostly unchanged, at 1 200 million.

In 1950, the world’s population stood at 2 500 million, which rose to just over 4 000 million by 1975. In 1999 it was just over 6 000 million and by the start of 2004 had reached 6 300 million.

Mr.Hania Zlotnik, ‘The UN‘ population division’s new director, said:

‘It is going to be a strain on the world. The expected growth has important and serious implications because it will be concentrated in countries that have problems providing adequate health and shelter’.

Between 2005 and 2050, nine countries — India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Congo, Bangladesh, Uganda, the USA, Ethiopia and China — are likely to contribute half of the world’s population increase, the report says.

The population is projected to at least triple in Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chad, Congo, the Republic of Congo, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger and Uganda, it said. In southern Africa — the region with the highest AIDS prevalence — life expectancy has fallen from 62 years in 1995 to 48 years in 2000/2005, and is projected to decrease further to 43 years over the next decade — before a slow recovery starts. Mr.Thomas Buettner, the chief of ‘The UN‘ division’s estimates and projection section, said China’s changing population was due to uprooting people from traditional rural lifestyles into a modern, more urban, economy. Mr.Robert Wright, a lecturer in economics at ‘The University of Stirling’, said:

‘China has an ageing population because of strict birth controls brought in, but the picture is much rosier for India; it has a younger population able to power its economy and fertility rates are slowing down too, so it can cope with the extra people’.

Europe’s population, which recently underwent a reversal in growth, is on a downward trend. It will drop from 728 million today to 653 million in 2050. That figure, which incorporates Russia but not Turkey, includes population falls in Italy and Germany. By 2050, there will be a predicted 101 million Turks — currently the figure stands at 73 million.

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