14th June, 2013
The United Nations has released a report which shows Nigeria’s population growing at an alarming rate with a projection that it would surpass the population of the United States of America by 2050.
The report released yesterday says Nigeria may become the fourth most populated country in the world by that year.
The report put Nigeria’s population at about 174 million already and the says the country would be among countries like India, Indonesia, Pakistan and the Philippines whose populations are expected to increase significantly.
The report states that some of the most rapid increases are expected in the world’s 49 least-developed countries including Mali, Niger, Somalia, Tanzania and Zambia, saying the populations of these countries are expected to increase at least five-fold by 2100.
Titled UN World Population Prospects: The 2012 Revision, the report says that by 2100, countries like Indonesia, the United Republic of Tanzania, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Uganda and Niger, would each have a population exceeding 200 million.
According to the report also, the population of India is expected beat that of China which is expected to shrink in the next 15 years and further.
“The population of India is expected to surpass that of China around 2028, when both countries will have populations of around 1.45 billion.
“Thereafter, India’s population will continue to grow for several decades to around 1.6 billion and then decline slowly to 1.5 billion in 2100.
“The population of China, on the other hand, is expected to start decreasing after 2030, possibly reaching 1.1 billion in 2100,” the report says, predicting that the world’s population, now at 7.2 billion, will reach 8.1 billion in 2025, reach 9.5 billion in 2050 and 11 billion by 2100.
Some of the 43 countries whose populations are expected to drop by more than 15 per cent by 2050 include Belarus, Bulgaria, Cuba, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine.
The report raised fears that more than half of the predicted increase in population between now and the mid-century is expected to occur in Africa that is least prepared to accommodate such a growth rate.
It says the number of people to inhabit the African continent would more than double from 1.1 billion to 2.4 billion in 2050 and further reach 4.2 billion by 2100, 35 percent of the total world population then.
It says the population of Africa will continue to rise even if there is a future drop in the average number of children each woman produces.
It further warns that, “these population trends point to the urgency of supporting employment creation in developing countries as part of any strategy to address the slow economic recovery that the world is experiencing,” while predicting that migration from developing countries to developed ones will be an average of 2.4 million people each year from 2013 and 2050 and will then drop to one million each year from 2050 to 2100.
The figures are based on a comprehensive review of recent data on population, including a 2010 round of national censuses.
They are higher than previous estimates, which put the world’s population at 9.3 billion in 2050 and 10.1 billion in 2100, in part because UN demographers have found higher fertility rates in some countries than previously predicted. The report sourced part of its research materials from information obtained on fertility levels of some countries. In some sub-saharan African countries, a woman has an average of five children and this has been adjusted upwards by more than five percent.
Director of the Population Division in the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs, John Wilmoth, during the press conference at the UN building in New York, said: “In some cases, the actual level of fertility appears to have risen in recent years; in other cases, the previous estimate was too low.
“While there has been a rapid fall in the average number of children per woman in large developing countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Brazil and South Africa, rapid growth is expected to continue over the next few decades in countries with high levels of fertility such as Nigeria, Niger, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia and Uganda but also Afghanistan and Timor-Leste, where there are more than five children per woman.”
Analysts say this is a wake up call to countries like Nigeria with low capacity to maintain a higher population. The Federal Government started a campaign last year for families to begin to reduce their number of children.