Population trends 1950 – 2100: globally and within Europe

Indicator Assessment
Prod-ID: IND-48-en
Also known as: Outlook 042
Created 01 Jun 2016 Published 17 Oct 2016 Last modified 17 Oct 2016, 03:25 PM
The world’s population increased from 2.5 billion in 1950 to around 7.3 billion in 2015, and is expected to continue to rise until 2050/2100 under most UN projection variants. Assuming the ‘medium fertility’ projection variant, global population might increase to 9.7 billion by 2050, and rise further to 11.2 billion by 2100. However, if fertility and mortality rates stay at current levels (i.e. assuming the ‘no change’ projection variant), growth rates are projected to be substantially higher, with global population possibly rising to 10.2 billion by 2050 and 19.3 billion by 2100. The expected global population growth is projected to be largely driven by increases in Asia and particularly in Africa. While the Asian population is expected to peak by 2050, Africa’s population is projected to grow strongly and continuously, from 1.2 billion today to about 4.5 billion by 2100, under ‘medium fertility’ assumptions. The total population of the EU-28 is projected to increase slightly from 505 million currently to 510 million by 2030, and then to decrease in the subsequent decades to some 465 million by 2100, under ‘medium fertility’ assumptions. The age structure is projected to change substantially, with an increase of the share of people aged 65 years or older from 19 % currently to 30 % by 2050 and further to 32 % by 2100, under ‘medium fertility’ assumptions.

Key messages

The world’s population increased from 2.5 billion in 1950 to around 7.3 billion in 2015, and is expected to continue to rise until 2050/2100 under most UN projection variants. Assuming the ‘medium fertility’ projection variant, global population might increase to 9.7 billion by 2050, and rise further to 11.2 billion by 2100. However, if fertility and mortality rates stay at current levels (i.e. assuming the ‘no change’ projection variant), growth rates are projected to be substantially higher, with global population possibly rising to 10.2 billion by 2050 and 19.3 billion by 2100.

The expected global population growth is projected to be largely driven by increases in Asia and particularly in Africa. While the Asian population is expected to peak by 2050, Africa’s population is projected to grow strongly and continuously, from 1.2 billion today to about 4.5 billion by 2100, under ‘medium fertility’ assumptions.

The total population of the EU-28 is projected to increase slightly from 505 million currently to 510 million by 2030, and then to decrease in the subsequent decades to some 465 million by 2100, under ‘medium fertility’ assumptions. The age structure is projected to change substantially, with an increase of the share of people aged 65 years or older from 19 % currently to 30 % by 2050 and further to 32 % by 2100, under ‘medium fertility’ assumptions.

What are the main population trends globally and within specific world regions?

Historical and projected global population

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Interval high-low fertility
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Table
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Historical and projected population by world region

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Table
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Historical and projected EU-28 population

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Interval high-low fertility