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U.N. World Population Forecasts

Currently, the global population is roughly 7.6 billion, with the United Nations (UN) estimating it to grow to over 11 billion by 2100. In its report, UN World Population Prospects, the UN details where the growth will occur and which regions will prosper. The UN has found that world population growth is actually growing less slowly than it has in the past, thus hindering accurate population projections. Yet, the UN has historically been fairly good with its estimates and projections, taking regional characteristics into account.


The UN anticipates that over half of all global growth between 2017 and 2050 will occur in Africa alone. It also projects that growth in Asia will continue, but at a slower pace heading towards 2100. A primary factor affecting projections is fertility rates, which have been the highest in Africa, and are projected to remain the highest of any of the regions worldwide.

The expected growth in Africa is primarily driven by a very young population and high fertility rates. The continent of Africa currently has the 10 youngest populated countries in the world, with an average age of under 17. Niger has the youngest average age of 14.8 compared to the global average age of 29.6.

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Europe and Japan will see dwindling populations as average ages rise and population growth slows down over the next few decades. Japan, which has the oldest average age of any of the developed counties, will lose a third of its population by 2100.

The U.S. will have minimal population growth, yet is estimated to have over 447 million inhabitants by 2100, a 37% increase from its current population of 324 million.

Source: United Nations; UN World Population Prospects, 2017 Revision