Our small world keeps getting bigger.
The world’s population is growing, but not at the rate of previous decades. According to the United Nations’ World Population Prospects Report, there are 140 million babies born into the world every year, with the global population set to increase from the current 7.8 billion to around 8.5 billion by 2030, 9.7 billion by 2050, and 10.4 billion by 2080.
Whilst the overall global population has and will continue to rise, it is at a slower growth rate than at any time since the 1950’s, with less than 1% growth recorded in 2020.
It is so-called ‘developing’ countries such as India, Nigeria, Egypt, the Philippines, Pakistan, and Tanzania that will account for the majority of population growth between now and 2050.
So clearly, humanity is thriving. For the purposes of this article, we will list the 10 most populous nations in the world today so you can get a better idea of just how the global community is growing.
The world’s most populous nation, with 1.42 billion souls, and recently overtaking world leader China.
India’s population grew by 17.64% between 2001 and 2011, but this was a downward trend of the previous decade (1991-2001) which saw a 21.54 growth rate.
The life expectancy rate in India is 70 years.
The world’s second most populous country, standing at 1.41 billion souls. Despite this number, the growth rate has seen a sharp decline, to an anemic 0.53% between 2010 and 2020.
The controversial ‘one child’ policy certainly slowed population growth since its implementation in the 1970’s, but this has been gradually relaxed over the ensuing decades, and a ‘three child’ policy is now the official line.
China reports its fertility rate at 1.3 but many analysts think it closer to 1.1, and with the aforementioned ‘one child’ policy resulting in lost generations, the Chinese population is expected to dip below 1 billion by 2050 and may even go as low as 800 million before plateauing out around 2080.
3. United States
In third place by quite some distance is Uncle Sam, with their population standing at 331 million as of 2021. According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. adds a new person every 100 seconds, and 864 persons per day.
America has a fertility rate of 1.7 with the world’s highest rate of single-parent households, standing at 23%. It also has the world’s most diverse population, with 37 ethnic groups having over 1 million members.
In 2023, Indonesia’s population is recorded as 278 million souls, up from 270 million in 2020. This trend looks set to continue as Indonesia has a relatively high annual population growth rate of 1.25. The island of Java is the world’s most populated island, with approximately 151 million people living there. Bali is also one of the most visited tourist hotspots in the world.
Their population is expected to grow to 295 million by 2030 and 321 million by 2050.
According to their 2023 national census, Pakistan has a population of approximately 241 million souls. Between 1951 and 2017, Pakistan’s population expanded at a staggering rate, going from 33.7 million in the former year to 207.7 million in the latter, an almost six-fold increase.
With a high fertility rate of 3.5, Pakistan has one of the highest rates of young people, with 40.3% of Pakistani citizens under the age of 15.
Africa makes its debut on our list in the form of Nigeria, and a population of 230 million souls.
With a high fertility rate of 5.07, it’s no surprise that between 1990 and 2008, Nigeria’s population expanded by 60%, adding 57 million more people to its number, making it by far the most populous country in Africa.
We cross the Atlantic Ocean to Brazil, with its population of 203 million souls.
Brazil’s population growth rate has been steadily declining since the 1960’s and is expected to enter negative territory of -0.29% by 2050.
We return to Asia with Bangladesh and a population of 165 million souls.
Bangladesh has the highest population-density rate in the world, at 1,265 people/km2.
It has experienced a dramatic fall in fertility rates, from 5.5 in 1985 to 2.0 in 2020, which not coincidentally parallels the government’s focus on birth control since the 1980’s.
Even with a population of some 147 million souls, Russia is one of the most sparsely populated and urbanized countries in the world, with the vast majority of citizens residing in the western part.
Russia’s death rate has, since the 1990’s, exceeded its birth rate, with the fertility rate standing at 1.42. This statistic will only be magnified by the Russian aggression against neighboring Ukraine, with high battlefield fatalities and a ‘brain drain’ of the educated class fleeing the country in droves.
Olé! We head for the final country on our list to Mexico and its population of 129 million souls.
Mexico experienced an exponential increase in population between the 1930’s and 1980’s, with annual growth rates exceeding 3% year on year. Life expectancy also increased by order of magnitude, from a paltry 36 years in 1895 to 72 years by 2000.
It is the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world