The current world population of 7.2 billion is projected to increase by one million over the next 12 years and reach 9.6 billion by 2050, according to a United Nations report launched today, that points out that the growth will be mainly in developing countries, with more than half in Africa.
"Although population growth has slowed for the world as a whole, this report reminds us that some developing countries, especially in Africa, are still growing rapidly," said the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Wu Hongbo.
The report, 'World Population Prospects: the 2012 Revision', notes that the population of developed regions will remain largely unchanged at around 1.3 billion from now until 2050. In contrast, the 49 least developed countries are projected to double in size from around 900 million people in 2013 to 1.8 billion in 2050.
Compared to previous assessments of world population trends, the new projected total population is higher, mainly due to new information obtained on fertility levels of certain countries. For example, in 15 high-fertility countries of sub-Saharan Africa, the estimated average number of children per woman has been adjusted upwards by more than 5 per cent.
"In some cases, the actual level of fertility appears to have risen in recent years; in other cases, the previous estimate was too low," said the Director of the Population Division in the UN's Department of Economic and Social Affairs, John Wilmoth, during a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York.