The Population Research Bureau's 2018 Data Sheet projects that the world population will reach 9.9 billion by 2050, which represents an increase of 2.3 billion (29%) from the current world population of 7.6 billion people.
PRB also finds that, by 2050, 82 countries are projected to have at least 20% of their population ages 65 and over.
Countries experiencing high old-age dependency or "double dependency" must address the high costs of older adults’ medical and long-term care needs, while also investing in the well-being of and future opportunities for younger generations.
22 August 2018: The Population Reference Bureau (PRB) has released its 2018 World Population Data Sheet, with an emphasis on changing age structures and the implications for countries around the world. The annual Data Sheet, which has been produced since 1962, provides the latest data on 26 population, health, and environment indicators globally, and breaks the data down by regions and more than 200 countries and territories.
The 2018 Data Sheet projects that world population will reach 9.9 billion by 2050, which represents an increase of 2.3 billion (29%) from the current world population of 7.6 billion people. The Data Sheet estimates that the 2018 worldwide total fertility rate (average births per woman over their lifetime) is 2.4. It reports that the three countries with the highest total fertility rates are Niger (7.2), Chad (6.4), and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (6.3). The three countries with the lowest total fertility rates are South Korea (1.1), Singapore (1.2) and Taiwan (1.2).
The Data Sheet projects that Africa’s population will more than double by 2050, reaching 2.6 billion people and accounting for 58% of the global population increase by that date. The population of Asia is projected to rise by 717 million, reaching 5.3 billion people. The population of Europe (which includes all of Russia) would decline from 746 million to 730 million. The population in the Americas is projected to increase from 1 billion to 1.2 billion. The population of Oceania (which includes Australia and New Zealand) is projected to increase from 41 million to 64 million.
For the 2018 Data Sheet’s special focus on age structures, PRB demographers grouped countries into five “age dependency” categories, which are based on two factors: the child dependency ratio (ratio of children (under age 15) to the working-age population (ages 15 to 64)); and the old-age dependency ratio (ratio of older adults (ages 65 and older) to the working-age population). On the concerns driving the selection of age structures for its special focus in 2018, PRB notes that countries with relatively high fertility and child dependency face challenges in investing sufficient resources in the development of young people’s human capital. Meanwhile, countries experiencing high old-age dependency or double dependency (relatively large shares of child and older-adult populations) must address the high costs of older adults’ medical and long-term care needs while also investing in the well-being of and future opportunities for younger generations.
Based on an analysis of the age structure data, PRB finds that, by 2050, 82 countries are projected to have at least 20% of their population ages 65 and over. In 2018, only 13 countries fall into this category. In addition, the population aged 65 and older in Northern Africa is projected to nearly quadruple by 2050, while the percentage of the same age group in the US is projected to increase from 15% to 22% from 2018 to 2050. At the same time, the percentage of the population in the US that is under age 15 is projected to decrease from 19% in 2018 to 17% by 2050. In Japan, 36% of the population is projected to be age 65 or older by 2050, compared with 28% in 2018.
PRB is a non-profit organization that works to inform people around the world about population, health, and the environment, and to empower people to use this information to advance the well-being of current and future generations. [PRB’s World Population Data website] [PRB website]