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World population to hit seven billion this year

Aug 22, 2011 2:35:00 PM - www.ft.lk

The global population is expected to reach seven billion this year, according to a study made by the National Institute of Demographic Studies (INED) in France, which was published last week.
The study, which also echoes research conducted by the World Bank, United Nations, and other major institutions, points out that the increasing number of people in Africa succeeds in off-setting the decrease in birth rates everywhere else in the world. Furthermore, the study predicts that the total population worldwide will steadily increase until it reaches approximately nine to 10 billion by the end of this century.

In 1999, the overall population was estimated at six billion people. But with the difference between birth rate and death rate figures, the next billion has been in the making for only 12 years. INED explains that it would take 14 more years to reach eight billion before the figures start stabilising.
It has been recorded that the soaring rise in the global population began in the 19th century. According to the report, it has been increasing seven fold for the last 200 years. Statistics indicate that only seven countries account for half of the population worldwide, amounting to 3.59 billion people. Also known as the ‘G7,’ the demographic dynamics of these countries have major effects on the overall population. Leading the list is China.
The Asian country has a population of 1.33 billion. Another leader in is India, with 1.17 billion people. The five remaining countries are the United States (306.8 million), Indonesia (243.3), Brazil (191.5), Pakistan (180.8) and Nigeria (162.3). Pakistan and Bangladesh are also competing for top places.
INED foresees that from 2011 to 2050, India will replace China at the top of list of nations with the biggest population. China’s one-child policy is expected to continuously play a major role in moderating China’s growing population. Sub-Saharan Africa, regions of Afghanistan, northern India, and the parts of the Arabian Peninsula are said to contribute most to the population growth.
In spite of the high death rates due to AIDS, the continent of Africa’s population is most likely to grow from 800 million in 2000 to 3.6 billion in 2100, according to the INED. As the global population continues to rise, the rate of increase is said to be slowing down. According to INED, the overall population growth will drop by 1.1 percent in 2011. It has been climbing to a maximum rate of two percent 50 years ago.
The decrease has been attributed to the drop in rate of global fertility. The current rate has dropped to 2.5 children per woman from a rate of five children per woman, which was recorded in 1950. It is quite remarkable to observe the huge differences in fertility rates among different regions in the world. As an example, in Africa the rate is 4.7 children per woman, while it is only 1.6 children per woman in Europe. In Nigeria, the rate is 7 children per woman, while Taiwan only has 0.9 per woman.

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