NEARLY ALL POPULATION GROWTH TAKING PLACE IN LESS DEVELOPED COUNTRIES
Population Reference Bureau - In mid-2008, world population stood at 6.7 billion, up from 6.0 billion in 1999. The next milestone, 7 billion, will likely be passed in 2011 or 2012.
During the 20th century, nearly 90 percent of population growth took place in countries classified as less developed by the United Nations - all countries in Africa, Asia (except Japan), Latin America and the Caribbean, and Oceania (except Australia and New Zealand). This remarkable development resulted from an unprecedented decline in death rates in LDCs brought about by the spread of public health measures, health care, and disease prevention, particularly after the end of World War II in 1945. These improvements evolved over centuries in the more developed countries, but the LDCs were able to benefit from them virtually overnight.
The imbalance in population growth seen over the last century will only intensify in the years to come.
Between 2008 and 2050, virtually all population growth will take place in the LDCs. Overall, the small amount of population growth projected for MDCs will be largely accounted for by the United States and Canada. But most of that growth will likely be due to immigration from LDCs. While the LDCs are projected to increase from 5.5 billion in 2008 to 8.1 billion in 2050, the MDCs are projected to grow from 1.2 billion to just 1.3 billion.
During 2008, about 139 million babies will have been born worldwide and 57 million people will likely die, so that global population will increase by 82 million. Overall, women would average about 2.6 children at the pace of childbearing in 2008, but that figure varies substantially from region to region and country to country. In MDCs, women average 1.6 children, a number insufficient to forestall eventual population decline. Some European countries and Japan are already experiencing more deaths annually than births. In the LDCs, excluding the large statistical effect of China, women average 3.2 children, twice that of the wealthier countries.
In the 50 UN-defined least developed countries, the number is even higher-4.7 children per woman.
For the first time, the world population is evenly divided between urban and rural areas. By 2050, urban residents are likely to make up 70 percent of the world’s population. . .
More than half of urban growth occurs in cities with populations of 500,000 citizens or fewer.
Megacities-urban areas with populations of 10 million or more-only account for 8 percent of the urban population.
Virtually all of the urban population growth will be happening in less developed regions. By 2050, North America’s population may be 90 percent urban.
Urban populations consume more food, durable goods, and energy than their rural counterparts.