- To overtake China, US in population by 2100
Peter Uzoho with agency reports
A new report has predicted that by the end of the century, the world will be multipolar, with India, Nigeria, China and the United States being the dominant powers.
The report projected Nigeria’s population to surpass those of China and the United States by 2100.
According to the world population growth forecast by a group of scientists, published in the Lancet Medical Journal yesterday, the number of people would peak in 2064 and drop to about 8.8 billion by 2100, a figure two billion less than the UN’s estimate.
The study showed that the five countries with the largest population by 2100 will be India with 1.09 billion, Nigeria with 791 million, China with 732 million, the US with 336 million and Pakistan with 248 million.
China’s population, however, is projected to decline by 48 per cent.
“Findings also, suggest a shifting age structure in many parts of the world with 2·37 billion (1·91–2·87) individuals older than 65 years and 1·70 billion (1·11–2·81) individuals younger than 20 years, forecasted globally in 2100,” the article added.
The report noted that working-age populations decline in developed countries, more liberal immigration systems could become a necessity.
The global population is likely to shrink after the middle of this century, triggering shifts in economic power, the report noted.
There will be around 9.7 billion people on the planet by 2064, but that number will decrease to 8.8 billion by the year 2100, according to the report.
The analysis said improvements to modern contraceptive methods and the increasingly widespread education of women could be a catalyst for a decline in global fertility rates.
The study predicted a major shift in the way age is distributed throughout the global population.
That, according to the report, means that populations will not be sustained at current levels without a more liberal immigration approach.
Populations in 23 countries, including Japan, Spain and Italy, are forecast to decline by more than half, according to the research, with another 34 countries, including China, seeing a drop of more than 25 per cent.
However, sub-Saharan Africa will buck the trend, and is set to see the growth of more than three times its current population, thanks to falling death rates in the region and the rising number of women reaching child-bearing age.
Across the world, over-80s are set to outnumber under-fives by a factor of two-to-one by 2100, marking a shift in the working age population.
Countries such as China, Spain, the UK and Germany are all expected to see a dramatic drop in the size of their workforce, resulting in a slowing of economic growth that will open the way for African and Arab countries to take the lead economically.
Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet, Dr. Richard Horton, said: “This important research charts a future we need to be planning for urgently. It offers a vision for radical shifts in geopolitical power, challenges myths about immigration, and underlines the importance of protecting and strengthening the sexual and reproductive rights of women. The 21st century will see a revolution in the story of our human civilisation.
“Africa and the Arab World will shape our future, while Europe and Asia will recede in their influence. By the end of the century, the world will be multipolar, with India,Nigeria, China, and the US the dominant powers.
“This will truly be a new world, one we should be preparing for today.”
African nations will lead the way in terms of total population growth.
Nigeria, which currently has the seventh-highest population in the world, will rocket up to second place by 2100, while the Japanese population will plummet from the 10th to 38th.
The Lancet study also predicted a major shift in the way age is distributed throughout the global population.
By and large, age is currently structured as a pyramid with more young people than older people, with people in their mid-20s being an outlier.
However, the journal predicted that the population will become more middle-aged by 2100.
The Lancet report said immigration could be a way to offset population decline.
Western countries that will have a lower birth rate by 2100, such as the US, Australia and Canada will likely be able to maintain a working-age population by liberalising their stance on immigration, it added.
The report warned, however, that population decline should not compromise global progress made on women’s rights and reproductive health.
Professor Ibrahim Abubakar, from University College London and the chair of Lancet Migration, said if the predictions made in the Lancet “are even half accurate”, then “migration will become a necessity for all nations and not an option.”