By Winnie Cynthia Awuor
The global population is predicted to reach eight billion by November 2022 and India to surpass china as the world most populous country in 2023 according to the United Nations(UN) prospect report.
“This year marks a milestone in the history of the world’s population day as the most anticipated birth of the eight billionth inhabitant,” said Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General, reacting to the findings released on world population Day.
Furthermore, the latest UN projections show that, the population could grow to 8.5 billion in 2030 and 9.7 billion in 2050 before reaching its peak of around 10.4 billion during 2080s where it’s expected to remain at its level until 2100.
However, the Annual World Population Prospect report also notes that the global population is growing at its slowest rate since 1950s having fallen by one per cent in 2020.
The report also declares that fertility has fallen in recent decades for many countries: where two-thirds of the global population today lives in a country or in areas where lifetime fertility is below 2.1 births per woman a level required for zero growth for a population with low mortality.
The report shows that the population is expected to decrease by at least one per cent over the next three decades in 61 countries or areas due to sustained low levels of fertility and elevated rates of emigration.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has also had an effect on population change: global life expectancy at birth fell to 71years in 2021 (down from 72.9 in 2019).
“Further actions by Governments aimed at reducing fertility would have little impact on the pace of population growth between now and mid-century because of the youthful age structure of today’s global population,” said John Wilmoth, Director of the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).
The Report also indicates that more than half of the projected increase in the global population up to 2050 will be concentrated in eight countries, that is the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and Tanzania. While Countries of sub-Saharan Africa are expected to contribute more than half of the increase anticipated through 2050.
Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affair, warned that rapid population growth makes eradicating poverty, combating hunger and malnutrition, and increasing the coverage of health and education systems more difficult.
The ‘demographic dividend’ is shown in the report to have risen due to most countries of sub-Saharan Africa, parts of Asia , the Latin America and the Caribbean recent reductions in fertility with a rise in the share of the working age population(25 to 64 years) providing an opportunity for accelerated economic growth per capita.
Achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals especially those related to health care, education and gender equality will contribute in reducing fertility levels and slowing global population growth.
Lastly, the Report also pointed out that more older people will live longer by 2050 as it is expected that the number of persons age 65 years or over worldwide will be more than twice the number of children under the age of 5 and about the same as the number under age 12.
Further reductions in mortality are projected to results in an average global longevity of around 77.2 years in 2050. Yet in 2021 life expectancy for least developed countries lagged seven years behind the global average.
“This year’s World Population Day falls during a milestone year, when we anticipate the birth of the Earth’s eight billionth inhabitant”, said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, reacting to report’s findings.
“Let us protect human rights and the ability of all individuals to make informed choices about whether and when to have children,” the UN chief said in his message marking the World Population Day, coinciding with the report.
Mr. Guterres underscored that “eight billion people means eight billion opportunities to live dignified and fulfilled lives.
The World Population Day offers a moment to celebrate human progress, the World Population Fund (UNFPA) said in its message for the day, noting that societies that invest in their people, in their rights and choices, have proven time and again that this is the road to the prosperity and peace that everyone wants and deserves.