The world’s population is about 7.9 billion and is concentrated in a few large countries: China, India, the United States, Pakistan, Brazil, Indonesia, Nigeria and Russia. While the populations of Pakistan and Nigeria continue to grow, the number of people in the United States and Russia has grown very little recently, and that is not expected to change. Even the growth of China, which had explosive population increases over the last several decades, has started to slow.
To determine the country that will grow the most in the 21st century, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on population projections from the U.S. Census Bureau’s International Programs Center. Countries were ranked based on the percentage change in projected population from 2022 to 2100. Data on the crude birth rate in 2019 and net migration from 2013 to 2017 are from the World Bank. Migration figures were adjusted for the population using data from the World Bank.
All the countries that will grow the fastest in the 21st century are in Africa, and every nation on the list has projected population growth of more than 165% in the 21st century. Though Africa’s mortality rate has been historically among the world’s highest, it has been falling because of improvements in medicine that helped reduce the threat of outbreaks such as cholera and ebola. Meanwhile, the birth rate in Africa remains very high.
With the exception of Ghana, all the fastest-growing countries have a crude birth rate of more than 30 per 1,000 people, and six of them have a rate that exceeds 40 per 1,000. This is considerably higher than the average crude birth rate worldwide of 18 births per 1,000. The U.S. crude birth rate is 11 per 1,000.
Gifted with abundant resources, home to some of the youngest demographics in the world, and led by more stable governments, Africa is developing rapidly and attracting foreign investors. Consequently, African economies such as Ghana, Senegal, Ethiopia and Tanzania are among the fastest-growing on Earth
A report from the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs predicts four of the world’s 10 most populous countries (Brazil, Bangladesh, Russia and Mexico) will be supplanted by the African nations of Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Egypt.
While a more prosperous Africa may be accompanied with a more populous Africa, a Pew Research Center report raised concerns that rapid population increases may raise the poverty level in Africa.
The country expected to grow fastest during the 21st century is Niger. Here are the details:
- Projected growth, 2022 to 2100: +537.5% (+131.6 million people)
- Current population: 24.5 million
- Crude birth rate: 45.6 per 1,000 people
- Annual net migration: +0.2 per 1,000 residents
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