Indicator Assessment

Total population - outlook from UNSTAT

Indicator Assessment
Prod-ID: IND-48-en
  Also known as: Outlook 042
Published 08 Jun 2006 Last modified 11 May 2021
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Assessment is created in 2007

Total world population is projected to grow, with wide regional variations. China and India are likely to have the largest populations and maintain one of the highest growth rates in the world (especially India). In contrast, the EECCA population is forecasted to fall below the 2005 level. Other European regions are expected to have a small increase in population, taking migration factors into account.

Projected population

Note: International comparisons

Data source:

Projected percentage change in total population from 2005 to 2030

Note: International comparisons

Data source:

Population: United Nation Population Division (UN) World Population Prospects: The 2004 Revision,

  • Population trends in Europe from 2005 to 2030 are expected to vary between regions. The WEU population grows by only 1.1 % to around 477 million. The highest growth (16 %) is projected for SEE, from 127 million in 2005 to more than 142 million in 2030. The population in EECCA decreases by 6.1 %, from 277 million in 2005 to 260 million by 2030. The most-populated countries, India and China, continue to grow with the largest increase (31 %) in India, with the population overtaking that in China around 2030. The total population of Canada and USA increases from 330 million in 2005 to 400 million by 2030. The increase in this region (21 %) is expected to be higher than in Europe but lower than in India.
*Projections are based on the baseline OECD scenario. The baseline is a no new policies scenario by design, without anticipating deliberate interventions requiring new or intensified policies in response to the projected developments. Population indicators were adopted from the most recently published UN demographic projection, and economic developments were taken from the economic baseline elaborated with the ENV Linkages model of the OECD

Supporting information

Indicator definition

Population includes all residents regardless of legal status and citizenships.

Time horizon: 2005 to 2100

Geographical coverage: Western Europe (WEU): Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom; Central Europe (CEU): Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Malta, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro; EECCA: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan,  Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan;
US; Canada; India; China


The indicator is measured in 1000 inhabitants.


Policy context and targets

Context description

There are no pan-European, EU and EECCA policies regulating total population. However, several of demographical strategies and policies exist at regional and national levels as well as migration legislations. Across the pan-European region, countries are seeking to halt immigration: the Russian Federation has proposed restrictive immigration laws, while the EU has stepped up the control of illegal immigration across its borders and partial restrictions across some EU Member States.


There are no pan-Euroepan, EU and EECCA objectives and target relating to certain amount of total population.

Related policy documents

No related policy documents have been specified



Methodology for indicator calculation

Total population indicator shows changing trends in amount total population at global and country untill 2050. The indicator is derived from the 2006 Revision (UN). 

The 2006 Revision of the official United Nations population estimates and projections, the Population Division is considered the most recent demographic data available for each and every country or area of the world. Standard demographic techniques were used to estimate the population by age and sex for the base year (2005) as well as trends in total fertility, life expectancy at birth, infant mortality and international migration up to 2006. The resulting estimates provided the basis from which the population projections follow.


Finally, in preparing the 2006 Revision, demographic information as produced by other United Nations agencies or bodies, such as: the Economic and Social Commissions for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC/CELADE) and for Western Asia (ESCWA), as well as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the  United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO), was also used or considered. Data from regional organizations such as the Statistical Office of the European Communities (EUROSTAT) and the Council of Europe,  the Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques (INSEE) and  the Centre d'Etudes et de Recherche sur la Population et le Developpement (CERPOD), have also been consulted.

For more detailed information see methodology reference.


Assumptions underlying the results of the model


The preparation of each new revision of the official estimates and projections of the United Nations involves two distinct processes:  (a) the incorporation of all new and relevant information regarding the past demographic dynamics of the population of each country or area of the world; and (b) the formulation of detailed assumptions about the future paths of fertility, mortality and international migration. The data sources used and the methods applied in revising past estimates of demographic indicators (i.e., those referring to 1950-2005) are presented in volume III of World Population Prospects: The 2006 Revision (forthcoming).

The future population of each country is projected from an estimated population for 1 July 2005. Because actual population data is not necessarily available at this date, the 2005 estimate is based upon the most recent population data available for each country, derived usually from a census or population register, updated to 2005 using all available data on fertility, mortality and international migration. In cases where very recent data are not available, estimated demographic trends are short term projections from the most recent available data. Population data from all sources are evaluated for completeness, accuracy and consistency, and adjusted where necessary.

To project population until 2050, the United Nations Population Division applies assumptions regarding future trends in fertility, mortality, and migration. Because future trends cannot be known with certainty, a number of projection variants are produced. This note presents the assumptions underlying the derivation of demographic indicators for the period starting in 2005 and ending in 2050. The 2006 Revision includes seven projection variants and three AIDS scenarios. The seven variants are: low, medium, high, constant-fertility,  instant-replacement-fertility, constant-mortality, and zero-migration. The World Population Prospects Highlights focus on the medium variant of the 2006 Revision, and results from the first four variants are available on-line and traditionally published in volume I of World Population Prospects (forthcoming). The full set of results for all variants and scenarios are available only on CD-ROM. 

The first five variants, namely, low, medium, high, constant-fertility and instant-replacement-fertility, differ among themselves exclusively in the assumptions made regarding the future path of fertility. The sixth variant, named constant-mortality, differs from the medium variant only with regard to the path followed by future mortality.  The seventh variant, named zero-migration, differs from the medium variant only with regard to the path followed by future international migration. Variants differ from each other only for the period 2005-2050.

In addition, the 2006 Revision includes three AIDS scenarios named No-AIDS, high-AIDS and AIDS-vaccine. These scenarios are variations of the medium variant and differ from each other and from that variant on the path of mortality because they are based on different assumptions regarding the course of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Note that only 62 countries are considered to be significantly affected by the epidemic. Consequently, the AIDS scenarios produce different projections only for those countries.

To describe the different projection variants and scenarios, the various assumptions made regarding fertility, mortality and international migration are presented below.

Methodology for gap filling

Often the source for the most recent demographic information for developing countries is a range of different surveys. For the calculation of the indicator data from following survey programs was used additionaly:

  • The Demographic and Health Survey Programme (DHS).
  • The Pan Arab Project for Child Development (PARCHILD) of the League of Arab States. The Pan Arab Project for Family Health (PARFAM) and Gulf Family Health Survey (GFHS) continue the task initiated by the PARCHILD programme.
  • During the 1990s, UNICEF embarked on a process of helping countries assess progress for children at end-decade in relation to the World Summit for Children goals, held in 1990 (see UNICEF, 1991). By 2005, Multiply Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS-2005) has been carried out, that collected and estimated, inter alia, information on infant and child mortality.

Methodology references



Methodology uncertainty


Data sets uncertainty


Rationale uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Data sources

Other info

DPSIR: Driving force
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
Indicator codes
  • Outlook 042
Frequency of updates
Updates are scheduled every 2 years
EEA Contact Info


Geographic coverage

Temporal coverage



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