THE global population is due to swell to 9.7 billion by 2050, from the current 7.3 billion.
However, according to an exhaustive Foreign Policy report by former Pew Research Centre executive VP Paul Taylor, that overall number isn’t the most awe-inspiring.
Dig a little deeper, and you uncover a trove of fascinating and significant demographic trends. His takeaway: “How a less Christian Europe, an aging population in the West, and the empowerment of women are going to shape the future.”
What about Africa? While Europe’s population is expected to decline by around four percent, Africa’s is expected to more than double, from almost 1.2 billion to almost 2.5 billion.
Nigeria will have give-or-take 400 million people and go from being the 7th biggest country in the world to the 3rd largest after India, then China. There will be 3.5 times more Africans than Europeans by 2050, whereas in 1950 there were almost twice as many Europeans.
Meanwhile, Islam is expected to surpass Christianity as the world’s most popular religion by around 2070. What’s behind all this: huge continental differences in birth rates. As Taylor puts it: “Demography is a drama in slow motion. But tick by tock, it transforms the world.”