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Toward the Year 2000: Amidst the mass of statistics available on population, some key numbers stand out.

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Published Date:
December 1973
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Man’s extending family

It has taken over 10,000 years for world population to reach its present number—over 3½ billion people. If population continues to grow as fast as it is doing now it will take only about 35 more years to add 3½ billion more.

Fortunately the growth rate is likely to slow down in coming decades. Unfortunately human population will still increase by anything between 2.3 and 3.5 billion—depending on the extent of fertility decline—by 2000.

Distribution and Increase of World Population by Major Regions(in millions)
YearConstant fertilityMedium fertility

decline
Fast fertility

decline
NumberPer centNumberPer centNumberPer cent
1970
Asia & Oceania2,05156.82,05156.82,05156.8
Africa3469.63469.63469.6
Europe & USSR70419.570419.570419.5
North America2266.32266.32266.3
Latin America2807.82807.82807.8
TOTAL3,6071003,6071003,607100
1980
Asia & Oceania2,59658.52,55858.32,52158.1
Africa45710.345310.345110.4
Europe & USSR76017.175717.275417.4
North America2505.62495.72485.7
Latin America3788.53728.53678.4
TOTAL4,4411004,3891004,341100
1990
Asia & Oceania3,37760.23,19659.53,03959.0
Africa61911.059711.157811.2
Europe & USSR81514.680915.180115.5
North America2805.02755.12715.3
Latin America5179.24919.24659.0
TOTAL5,6081005,3681005,154100
2000
Asia & Oceania4,44761.83,96860.73,58360.1
Africa86111.978312.067711.4
Europe & USSR87012.185413.184314.1
North America3084.32974.52884.8
Latin America7109.96359.75679.5
TOTAL7,1961006,5361005,958100

Where will they live?

Seventy four per cent of the world’s people already live in the Asian, African, and Latin American regions where poverty, poor health, and malnutrition are widespread. By the year 2000, these regions will account for between 81 and 84 per cent—whether fertility declines or not. At the same time the share of world population living in the comparative luxury of Europe and North America will decrease from 26 to between 16 and 19 per cent.

10 Most Populous Developing Countries: Increase of Population under Fast Fertility Decline Assumption
CountryPopulation in thousands% Growth

1970-2000
1970198019902000
China (Mainland)759,619897,3381,036,7841,176,23155
India537,445668,386807,477956,50278
Indonesia121,222160,235205,012254,101110
Brazil92,813119,290146,799175,28589
Bangladesh71,55291,936118,854146,903105
Pakistan60,26981,261110,770143,357138
Nigeria55,08571,93693,542118,336115
Mexico50,66470,89095,420121,217139
Philippines36,86751,65870,36490,781146
Thailand36,23049,95466,61384,397133
TOTAL1,822,1662,262,9742,751,6353,267,11079
Per cent of World Total50.552.153.455.8
Other Selected Countries
United States204,562224,571244,613259,87627
USSR241,438263,496285,374303,10926
Greece8,9019,54710,06910,52118
Portugal9,66710,38911,04611,60320
Algeria14,02319,52627,19436,343159

Big, bigger, biggest

The People’s Republic of China—by far the most populous nation in the world—is making great efforts to contain population increase. Yet for every 10 Chinese alive in 1970 there will be 15 in the year 2000. The situation is much worse for the other nine most populous less developed countries: for every ten persons there will be nearly 20. For every 10 Russians or Americans, on the other hand, there will only be about 12 alive in 2000.

A significant reduction in the growth rate of population in the ten largest less developed countries would thus go a long way to reducing the world’s population problems.

Women in childbearing ages and Children

The number of children born between now and the year 2000 depends on the fertility of all women in the childbearing ages during that period. Most of these women are already born.

Among Bank member countries in 1973, there are 592 million such women of whom 51 per cent are in Asia, 13 per cent in Africa, and 11 per cent in Latin America—a total of 75 per cent. Even if fertility declines rapidly, their total share will increase to about 84 per cent by 2000 while that of Europe and North America will decrease considerably.

As world population continues to grow there will be a dramatic concentration of the world’s children in the poorer countries. In Africa and Asia the number of children in the 6 to 11 age group is expected to increase—even if fertility declines rapidly—by 92 and 62 per cent by the year 2000. In Europe no increase at all is expected—and in North America a drop of 7 per cent. Similar contrasts in growth rates will affect other school-age groups.

Such excessive growth in the number of children in school-going ages will be a major problem in the developing countries. Conversely, a declining school population is already a major planning problem in the more developed countries.

Estimates by Region1 of School-Age Children under Fast Fertility Decline Assumption (1970-2000)(in millions)
REGION6-11 Years
1970198019902000Per cent

Increase

(1970-

2000)
Asia18623827130262.4
Europe35333335
Africa52688610092.3
N. America27242725-7.4
S. America4254647169.0
Oceania2222
ALL34441948353555.5

For 118 Bank member countries.

REGION12-14 years
1970198019902000Per cent

Increase

(1970-

2000)
Asia8710812814465.5
Europe161816176.3
Africa22303947113.6
N. America14121313-7.2
S. America1825303488.8
Oceania1111
ALL15819422725662.0

For 118 Bank member countries.

REGION15-17 Years
1970198019902000Per cent

Increase

(1970-

2000)
Asia789712213876.9
Europe161816176.3
Africa20273644120.0
N. America131313147.7
S. America1723283343.5
Oceania1111
ALL14517921624770.3

For 118 Bank member countries.

REGION18-23 Years
1970198019902000Per cent

Increase

(1970-

2000)
Asia133170224260110.5
Europe2933353313.8
Africa35466280128.6
N. America2427232712.5
S. America29405262113.8
Oceania2222
ALL25231839846484.1

For 118 Bank member countries.

For 118 Bank member countries.

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