Special Report

Countries with the Fastest-Growing Populations

Source: fotocinema / Getty Images

5. Equatorial Guinea
> Projected population growth 2018-2030: 46.2%
> Population 2018 1.3 million
> Projected population 2030: 1.9 million
> 10-year population change through (2007-2017): 52.9%

Unlike many other countries on this list with GDPs per capita below $5,000, Equatorial Guinea has a relatively high GDP per capita of $22,213.74. While the central West African country is known for economic swings (the per capita GDP PPP has ranged from below $1,000 in 1991 to above $40,000 in 2008), population figures are heading only in one direction: Up. Over the past 10 years, the population rose by almost 53%.

Source: Francis Hannaway / Wikimedia Commons

4. Democratic Republic of the Congo
> Projected population growth 2018-2030: 47.4%
> Population 2018 84.3 million
> Projected population 2030: 124.3 million
> 10-year population change through (2007-2017): 39.2%

With a 2018 population that reached about 84.3 million, this Central African country is facing many challenges. The per capita GDP PPP is a meager $808.13, and the nation is in the midst of a measles epidemic, with more than 87,000 suspected cases reported. This most recent health crisis struck on top of ongoing struggles to contain outbreaks of cholera and Ebola. The population, which was below 60 million in 2007, is projected to reach 124.3 million by 2030.

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3. Angola
> Projected population growth 2018-2030: 49.3%
> Population 2018 30.4 million
> Projected population 2030: 45.4 million
> 10-year population change through (2007-2017): 41.8%

The second largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa, Angola is rich in natural resources and has high economic potential, which it hasn’t been able to realize because of the upheaval of an almost three decades-long civil war. As of 2018, 48% of the 30.4 million population was under 15 years old and only 2% were age 65 and up. A high fertility rate is projected to spur the southern African nation’s total population by a daunting 170% over current numbers by 2050.

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2. São Tomé and Príncipe
> Projected population growth 2018-2030: 50.0%
> Population 2018 0.2 million
> Projected population 2030: 0.3 million
> 10-year population change through (2007-2017): 25.3%

This island nation off the west coast of Africa has the distinction of being among the region’s smallest countries, spanning roughly 1,000 square kilometers. With a 2018 headcount of about 200,000, it has one of Africa’s smallest populations, but also one of the most densely populated, with almost 190 people per square kilometer. The outlook includes even less elbow room, as a 50% growth is projected by 2030. With life expectancy of 65 (men) and 69 (women), by 2050 6% of the São Tomé and Príncipe‘s population will be in the 65-plus category, one of the highest shares among the 20 countries with fastest-growing populations.

Source: mathieudessus / Flickr

1. Niger
> Projected population growth 2018-2030: 53.2%
> Population 2018 22.2 million
> Projected population 2030: 34.0 million
> 10-year population change through (2007-2017): 46.4%

With 48 births and 10 deaths per 1,000 people each year, the rate of natural population growth for this west African nation stands at 3.8%, the highest in the world. With a full 50% of the population under age 15 in 2018 and a fertility rate of 7.2, the population is expected to jump from 22.2 million to 63.1 million by 2050, a projected growth rate of 184.23%. Though Niger has sizable oil reserves and the government plans to exploit gold, coal, and other resources to sustain growth, as of 2018, the per capita GDP PPP of $990 remains among the world’s lowest.

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