August 11, 2015

World population - driven by Africa - to hit 11 billion by 2100

Independent, UK - Africa will account for much of the explosive growth in the world’s population this century, which is expected to rise from the 7.3bn people on earth today to 11.2bn by 2100, according to the latest UN forecasts.

Fertility rates – the average number of children born per woman – have declined globally but they are not decreasing as fast in Africa as on other continents, said John Wilmoth, director of the UN Population Division in New York.

In countries such as Nigeria – Africa’s most populous nation – there are now signs that fertility rates are once more on the increase, which could have a significant impact on future estimates of the global population, Mr Wilmoth said.

Predictions of future population growth rely on accurate fertility-rate estimates in the decades to come. This means that the actual global population for 2100 could be has high as 13.2bn, particularly if women in Africa continue to buck the global trend by having more babies than expected, The UN has warned.

“For the world as a whole, fertility has fallen steadily since the 1960s. Currently the average woman is having around 2.5 children over her lifetime. But this number varies widely around the world,” Mr Wilmoth said.

“Africa has the highest fertility level, with around 4.7 children per woman. Even assuming a continued decline in fertility, given this high starting point, we should anticipate a continued rapid growth of the African population, which will roughly double in size between now and 2050,” he said.

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