Many lessons to be drawn from the latest data published on Monday 11 July by the United Nations.

Human beings have never been so numerous and will be more tomorrow. Planet Earth will matter over 8 billion inhabitants by the end of the yearthe UN announced on Monday, publishing illuminating demographics on the occasion of World Population Day.

One billion more in just twelve years

The 8 billion population threshold will be crossed from November 15, 2022, according to forecasts published on Monday by the United Nations. This is one billion more people on the planet than in 2010, two billion more than in 1998 and five and a half billion more than in 1950.

This is “a reminder of our shared responsibility to take care of our planet and a time to reflect on the points where we still do not respect our mutual commitments,” said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in a statement.

Why such a trend

The number of deaths has increased by 12% in the world, under the effect of the pandemic, according to the UN and the WHO, or an excess of mortality of 14.9 million people attributed to Covid-19 for the year 2020 alone. But not enough to call into question the population growth to date, driven, in particular, by the progress of science.

At the same time, huge changes have taken place, both in fertility rates and in life expectancy. In the early 1970s, each woman had an average of 4.5 children. In 2014, the global fertility rate dropped to about 2.5 children per woman. Today it is 2.3 and is expected to drop to 2.2 in 2050.

But individuals of childbearing age will become more numerous. And, at the same time, the global average life expectancy has increased, from 64.8 years in the early 1990s to 70 years today. It is projected to increase to 77.1 years in 2050.

At the same time there was an acceleration of migration, accompanied by increasing urbanization, with a turning point in 2007, when the urban population became more important than the rural population. By 2050, approximately 66% of the world’s population will live in cities.

The goal of ten billion has already been planned

It took hundreds of thousands of years for the world’s population to reach 1 billion, but only 200 years to increase sevenfold. The world’s population has grown, however, at a slower rate since 1950.

Could the trend be reversed with a decrease in population by the end of this century? There is a “one in two chance” according to the UN, but its demographers consider the probability of a population of 8.9 to 12.4 billion in 2100 to be “95% safe”.

The symbolic milestone of ten billion could be reached in 2059, and then stabilize about 10.4 billion people living on the planet in the 1980s.

Countries with exploding demographics

61% of the world population currently lives in Asia (4.7 billion people), 17% in Africa (1.3 billion), 10% in Europe (750 million), 8% in Latin America and the Caribbean (650 million) and the remaining 5% in North America (370 million) and Oceania (43 million).

But more than half of the world’s population growth by 2050 will occur in Africa. The population of sub-Saharan Africa, for example, is expected to double by 2050. More than half of the world’s population increase is concentrated in just eight countries: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and Tanzania.

India will become the most populous country in the world

China and India remain the most populous countries in the world, with respectively 1.44 billion inhabitants for the first and 1.39 billion for the second, or 19 and 18% of the world population. India could, however, become the most populous country in the world next year.

The lowest fertility rate in Europe

The populations of 55 countries or regions of the world are projected to decline by 2050, including 26 countries by at least 10%, the UN predicts. Several countries are even expected to see their demographics drop by around 15% over the same period, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine.

One indicator is carefully monitored: the fertility rate, which in all European countries is now below the level that allows for long-term population renewal, i.e. an average of 2.1 children per woman.

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