The State of World Population is an annual report published by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Every year it encompasses and analyses developments and trends in world population and demographics. Besides it also throws light on the specific regions, countries and population groups and the unique challenges they could face in the near future.
The 2019 report heralds a perturbing future. According to the report the world population is expected to increase by 2 billion in the next 30 years, which means the world population figure would reach 9.7 billion in 2050 and apparently could reach 11 billion in 2100. The future definitely looks bleak!
UNFPA is United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency. It was established as a trust fund in 1967 and began operations in 1969. In 1987, it was officially renamed the United Nations Population Fund. However, the original abbreviation UNFPA (United Nations Fund for Population Activities) was retained. It is a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly and is entirely supported by voluntary contributions of donor governments, intergovernmental organisations, the private sector, foundations and individuals; and not by the United Nations regular budget.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE REPORT
The world's population rose to 7.715 billion in 2019 from 7.633 billion in 2018, with a global average life expectancy of 72 years.
The least developed countries recorded the highest population growth, with countries in Africa registering an average hike of 2.7% per year.
Most of the overall increase in global population till 2050 is projected to occur in high fertility countries, mostly in Africa or in countries with large population such as, Nigeria and India.
The population of Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to double by 2050. Regions that may experience lower rates of population growth between 2019 and 2050 include Oceania excluding Australia/New Zealand(56%), Northern Africa and Western Asia(46%), Latin America and the Caribbean(18%) and Europe and North America(2%).
The global fertility rate, which fell from 3.2 births per woman in 1990 to 2.5 in 2019, is projected to decline further to 2.2 in 2050.
Life expectancy at birth for the world, which increased from 64.2 years in 1990 to
72.6 years in 2019 is expected to increase further to 77.1 years in 2050.
By 2050, 1 in 6 people in the world will be over the age of 65, up from 1 in 11 in 2019. Regions where the share of population aged 65 years or above is projected to double between 2019 and 2050 include Northern Africa, Western Asia, Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.
The potential support ratio, which compares the number of people at working age to those over age 65, is falling around the world. By 2050, 48 countries mostly in
Europe, Northern America and South East Asia are expected to have potential ratio below 2.
14 countries or areas will see a net inflow of more than 1 million migrants , while 10 countries will see a net outflow of similar magnitude.
KEY POINTS FOR INDIA MENTIONED IN THE REPORT
The world population report 2019 cautions India against growing population. India's population in 2019 stands at 1.36 billion growing from 541.5 million in 1969. It accounts for over 1/6th of the world population in 2019 (7.71 billion). India has seen a growth rate of 1.2% per year between 2010 and 2019, whereas China, the world's most populated country at 1.42 billion, has a population growth rate of 0.5% per year between 2010 and 2019. India is projected to become the most populated country by 2027, surpassing China and host 1.64 billion people by 2050.
Around half of India's population in 24 states have achieved the replacement fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman. Replacement fertility rate is the average number of children born per woman, at which a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next, without migration. This rate is 2.1 for most of the countries. India registered an improvement in life expectancy at birth. It was 47 years in 1969, growing to 60 years in 1994 and 69 years on 2019.
Therefore, the main challenge for India is achieving a reduction in fertility rate in states such as Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh, which is high as per sample Registration System data.
REPERCUSSIONS OF POPULATION SURGE
Climate Change- Climate change is probably the most complex and challenging environmental problem being faced by the world today. Currently the intriguing questions include weather uncertainties, persistent climatic abnormalities rampant environmental degradation and eminent food insecurity. These complexities are exacerbated by increased human population and demand for more agricultural land for food production, resulting in the destruction of vegetation cover. Little or no rainfall has resulted in the formation of fragile drylands and semi-arid areas in lieu of fertile lands. The pernicious impact of global warming on weather pattern is looming and, undoubtedly, the increasing population can be regarded as the major cause behind it. Further climate degradation will definitely leave our planet inept for living creatures.
Declining groundwater level- Rapid decline in usable groundwater between 2005 and 2013 has been witnessed, raising an impending risk of severe drought, food crisis and drinking water scarcity for millions of people. Groundwater being an essential natural resource for irrigation water supply during non-monsoonal months, its large scale depletion will have some unforeseen consequences in future food security. Studies suggest that the main reasons for this decline are inadequate rainfall, exceptionally high demand versus limited supply owing to rise in population, urbanisation and rise in industries. The northern states of
India have registered an exceptionally deplorable fall in groundwater level ranging between 75%-85%. The condition is as daunting as it gets, leaving the major cities of India deprived of even an ounce of groundwater in the near future.
Sustainable Development Goals might receive a setback- On 25th September 2015, 193 member states of the United Nations unanimously adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), a set of 17 goals aiming to transform the world in the next 15 years. These goals are designed to eliminate poverty, discrimination, abuse and preventable deaths, address enviornmental destruction and usher in an era development for all. The World Population report 2019 itself declares that the resulting changes in the size, composition and distribution of the world population will have important consequences in achieving SDGs.
The concerns are real. The rate at which things are going, we have already used up more than half of the available finite resources. We are miserably failing in keeping up with our planet and our habit of wastage is definitely not helping.
By: Hera Rizwan