Special Report

Countries with the Fastest-Growing Populations

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20. Guinea
> Projected population growth 2018-2030: 37.0%
> Population 2018 11.9 million
> Projected population 2030: 16.3 million
> 10-year population change through (2007-2017): 26.0%

The country’s 37% population growth by 2030, the 20th highest among countries considered, is likely the result of these continued trends. Among the factors contributing to Guinea’s burgeoning population growth are a high birth rate — 39 births per 1,000 people compared with 18.7 for the world average — and an extended life expectancy. In 1960, the life expectancy at birth in the West African nation was below 35 years; by 2017, that figure had surged to 58 year for men and 61 for women.

19. Comoros
> Projected population growth 2018-2030: 37.5%
> Population 2018 0.8 million
> Projected population 2030: 1.1 million
> 10-year population change through (2007-2017): 26.9%

A climbing birth rate and a slowing mortality rate, combined with the fact that more people immigrated into the country than emigrated out of it, added up to a population boom in Comoros. As of 2017, this small island nation off the east coast of Africa had a population density of more than 437 people per square kilometer, up from just over 104 in 1961. The country’s population growth of over 37% by 2030 will no doubt exacerbate population density.

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18. South Sudan
> Projected population growth 2018-2030: 37.7%
> Population 2018 13.0 million
> Projected population 2030: 17.9 million
> 10-year population change through (2007-2017): 42.0%

Since gaining its independence in 2011, the Republic of South Sudan has struggled with political strife, food insecurity, high inflation, and economic instability. Millions of people have been displaced, both within the borders of this relatively new Central African nation, and to surrounding countries. Nevertheless, the population has increased — one reason is because refugees are entering South Sudan from Sudan — and is expected to climb to nearly 18 million in 2030.

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17. Gabon
> Projected population growth 2018-2030: 38.1%
> Population 2018 2.1 million
> Projected population 2030: 2.9 million
> 10-year population change through (2007-2017): 36.0%

The West African country of Gabon has a youthful population and a vibrant economy. As of 2018, 36% were under 15 years old, and only 4% above age 65. Worldwide, the share of those 65 and older in 2018 was 9%, according to data from the Population Reference Bureau. In addition to the booming annual birth rate, population growth in Gabon gets a boost from migrants from other African countries such as Benin, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Mali, the Republic of Congo, and Senegal, who cross the borders in search of employment in Gabon’s booming economy.

Source: Luis-m-Leonardo / Getty Images

16. Mozambique
> Projected population growth 2018-2030: 39.0%
> Population 2018 30.5 million
> Projected population 2030: 42.4 million
> 10-year population change through (2007-2017): 33.7%

With a per capita GDP PPP of just over $1,100, the East African nation of Mozambique is among the poorest countries on Earth. From 2007 to 2017, the population rose by about one-third, and roughly 45% of the population is below age 15. Population growth of 39% is projected by 2030. The economy of the nation, which gained independence from Portugal in 1975, was boosted by the discovery of gas fields off the coast in 2011.

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