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World’s Population Increases, Urbanizes, Ages, and Migrates

February 24, 2020

The world’s population of 7.8 million is rising in some countries and falling in others, more people are moving to cities, the share of the population 65 and older is increasing, and there are more international migrants.

The global population is expected to reach eight billion in 2023, nine billion by 2037, and 10 billion by 2056. The world adds 83 million people a year and is projected to add 2.2 billion people by 2050, half in Africa and a third in Asia. Europe is expected to shrink by almost 40 million people, equivalent to the population of California.

China and India each have 1.4 billion people, but India’s population is growing while China’s is on the verge of shrinking. Fifty countries including Nigeria are expected to double their populations by 2050, while 20 countries including China, Germany, and Japan are expected to have fewer people in 2050 than they do today. Nigeria, which had a third as many people as the US in 1990, is projected to have almost twice as many people as the US in 2050.

About 55 percent of the world’s people live in cities and, with rural-urban migration continuing, two-thirds of the world’s people are expected to live in cities in 2050. Many will live in megacities with more than 10 million residents. In 2020, the world has 33 megacities, led by Tokyo with 37 million residents. There are expected to be 43 megacities by 2030, with Delhi at 39 million the world’s largest city.

Almost 10 percent of the world’s people, 703 million, are 65 or older; there are expected to be 1.5 billion people 65 and older in 2050, almost 15 percent. Meanwhile the share of the world’s people who are under 15 is expected to shrink to 14 percent, marking the first time in history that the world will have more people 65 and older than under 15. There are 34 countries where the number of persons 65 and older already exceeds the number of children under 15.

There were 272 million international migrants in 2019, defined as persons outside their country of birth a year or more, and they include 26 million refugees. International migration is expected to increase due to persisting demographic and economic differences at a time when revolutions in communications, transportation, and rights make it easier to cross borders and remain abroad.

UN World Population Prospects.

The world’s population is projected to increase at a slower rate and to stabilize at 11 billion in 2100

Countries with the fastest-growing populations are also the poorest countries

India will soon surpass China in population, and Nigeria will surpass the US

Delhi is expected to replace Tokyo by 2030 as the world’s largest city

Delhi is expected to replace Tokyo by 2030 as the world’s largest city
City size rank City Population in 2018 (thousands) City Population in 2030 (thousands)
1 Tokyo, Japan 37,468 Delhi, India 38,939
2 Delhi, India 28,514 Tokyo, Japan 36,574
3 Shanghai, China 25,582 Shanghai, China 32,869
4 São Paulo, Brazil 21,650 Dhaka, Bangladesh 28,076
5 Ciudad de Mé (Mexico City), Mexico 21,581 Al-Qiahirah (Cairo), Egypt 25,517
6 Al-Qiahirah (Cairo), Egypt 20,076 Mumbai (Bombay), India 24,572
7 Mumbai (Bombay), India 19,980 Beijing, China 24,282
8 Beijing, China 19,618 Ciudad de Mé (Mexico City), Mexico 24,111
9 Dhaka, Bangladesh 19,578 São Paulo, Brazil 23,824
10 Kinki M.M.A. (Osaka), Japan 19,281 Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo 21,914

There are expected to be more people 65 and older than 14 and younger in 2050

The number of international migrants rose by 5 million a year in the 21st century

The number of international migrants rose by 5 million a year in the 21st century
Region, sub-region, country, or area International migrants (thousands) International migrants as share of total population Females among all international migrants International migrants by age group in 2019 Median age of international migrants Migrants originating from the same SDG region Refugees (thousands) Refugees as a share of international migrants Inflows of migrant remittances (millions of US$)
2000 2019 2000 2019 2000 2019 0-19 20-64 65+ 2019 2019 2017 2019 2000 2018
World 173,588.4 271,642.1 2.8% 3.5% 49.3% 47.9% 13.9% 74.2% 11.8% 39.0 44.5% 28,711.5 10.6% 126,749.7 688,168.1
More developed regions 103,962.0 152,069.3 8.7% 12.0% 51.1% 51.5% 8.9% 75.8% 15.2% 42.9 31.1% 4,813.6 3.2% 50,306.5 189,951.2
Less developed regions 69,626.5 119,572.8 1.4% 1.9% 46.5% 43.4% 20.3% 72.2% 7.5% 34.5% 62.1% 23,897.9 20.0% 76,443.2 498,216.9
  Least developed countries 10,063.9 16,289.0 1.5% 1.6% 50.0% 50.4% 33.8% 62.3% 3.9% 28.2% 68.7% 6,949.4 42.7% 6,219.8 45,868.7
  Less developed regions, excluding least developed countries 59,562.5 103,283.8 1.4% 1.9% 46.0% 42.3% 18.1% 73.7% 8.1% 35.3% 61.1% 16,948.6 16.4 70,223.4 452,348.2
 
High-income countries 103,029.7 175,811.8 9.3% 14.0% 49.1% 47.6% 10.6% 76.5% 12.8% 40.7% 29.7% 4,734.8 2.7% 52,069.0 160,102.4
Middle-income countries 61,159.0 82,237.7 1.3% 1.4% 49.5% 48.2<%/td> 18.1% 70.9% 11.0% 36.6% 70.4% 18,498.7 22.5% 71,643.7 497,461.8
Low-income countries 8,975.6 13,072.1 1.9% 1.7% 50.4% 50.9% 31.9% 64.1% 4.0% 28.9% 85.1% 5,478.0 41.9% 3,037.0 30,603.9
No-income group available 424.1 520.5 18.7% 17.9% 50.6% 52.6% 22.7% 70.7% 6.4% 34.6% 50.2% 0.0 0.0    
 
Africa 15,051.7 26,529.3 1.9% 2.0% 46.9% 47.0% 27.8% 67.5% 4.7% 30.9% 83.3% 7,299.3 27.5 10,904.8 86,309.6
Asia 49,394.3 83,559.2 1.3% 1.8% 46.2% 41.5% 17.4% 74.4% 8.2% 35.6% 55.0% 16,013.7 19.2% 46,475.4 325,804.4
Europe 56,858.8 82,304.5 7.8% 11.0% 51.6% 51.4% 8.8% 76.8% 14.4% 42.7% 51.6% 3,595.7 4.4% 42,392.5 172,920.7
Latin America and the Caribbean 6,570.7 11,673.3 1.3% 1.8% 50.1% 49.9% 21.6% 68.9% 9.5% 33.8% 72.5% 607.3 5.2% 20,346.7 89,771.8
Northern America 40,351.7 58,647.8 12.9% 16.0% 50.5% 51.8% 8.8% 75.1% 16.2% 43.5% 2.5% 1,086.3 1.9% 4,400.0 9,420.8
Oceania 5,361.2 8,927.9 17.1% 21.2% 50.1% 50.4% 11.0% 70.3% 18.8% 42.9% 12.1% 109.3% 1.2% 2,230.2 3,940.7