What made the world population grow

How overpopulation could be slowed down

At some point it's over. The world population has been increasing exponentially since around 1800, but the growth will not continue indefinitely. Wars, poverty, disease and climate change will claim lives, but the reason for the decline in the population is different: the birth rate is falling worldwide.

At the moment, women get on average worldwide about 2.5 children. In 2050 this value is expected to be 2.2 children and in 2100 1.9 children. If the rate is below 2 children per woman, the population inevitably declines.

The main reason for this development is Education. And above all the education of women. Sexual education and access to contraceptives mean that many women no longer become unintentionally pregnant. Instead, they can plan with their partners whether they will have offspring. Education also enables women to be more gainfully employed. By this they are financially independant and not dependent on a husband and children.

The graph above shows not only the increase in population over the past few decades, but also the decrease in the growth rate. Between 1965 to 1970 the rate of growth of the world population reached its peak. Since then, the pace of global population growth has slowed by almost half. It is currently just under 1.1 percent per year and is likely to continue to decline towards the end of the century.

Some countries are lagging behind

Already today, almost half of the world's population lives in a country where the birth rate is below 2.1. The birth rate is particularly low in Europe and North America, but also in China, Brazil, Bangladesh, Russia, Japan and Vietnam. In Germany it is around 1.5.

It looks completely different in Africa. Has the world's highest birthrate Niger with over seven births per woman.

And even if there is a trend towards fewer children in the African countries, the population of the African countries below the Sahara will more than double by 2050 - to 2.2 billion people.

The population growth that awaits us by 2050 will primarily come from nine countries. India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, the United Republic of Tanzania, Indonesia, Egypt and the United States of America will account for more than half of the expected population growth. Starting in 2027, India is expected to overtake China as the most populous country in the world.

People don't get the same age everywhere

It is true that people around the world are getting older, but here too there are considerable differences between the individual countries.

Globally speaking, a child born in 2019 has a life expectancy of around 72 years. Compared to 1990 this is an increase of more than 8 years. The average lifespan in 2050 is estimated to be around 77 years.

However, currently the people who live in countries with the lowest life expectancy are dying 30 years earlier than the people who get old in the countries with the highest life expectancy. The life expectancy of a Japanese baby is currently 84 years, while the life expectancy of a baby from the Central African Republic is less than 55 years.