KATHMANDU: The United Nations estimated Monday that the world’s population will reach 8 billion on Nov. 15 and that India will replace China as the world’s most populous nation next year.
In a report released on World Population Day, the U.N. also said global population growth fell below 1% in 2020 for the first time since 1950.
According to the latest U.N. projections, the world’s population could grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050, and a peak of around 10.4 billion during the 2080s. It is forecast to remain at that level until 2100.
The report says more than half the projected increase in population up to 2050 will be concentrated in just eight countries: Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Tanzania.
The report, “World Population Prospects 2022,” puts the world’s population at 7.942 billion now and forecasts it will reach 8 billion in mid-November.
John Wilmoth, director of the U.N. Population Division, said at a news conference to release the report that the date when the U.N.’s projection line crosses 8 billion is Nov. 15.
But, he noted, “we do not pretend that that’s the actual date … and we think that the uncertainty is at least plus or minus a year.”Nonetheless, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called 2022 a “milestone year,” with “the birth of the Earth’s eight billionth inhabitant.”
“This is an occasion to celebrate our diversity, recognize our common humanity, and marvel at advancements in health that have extended lifespans and dramatically reduced maternal and child mortality rates,” Guterres said in a statement. “At the same time, it is a reminder of our shared responsibility to care for our planet and a moment to reflect on where we still fall short of our commitments to one another.”
The report projects that next year India, with a current population of 1.412 billion, will surpass China, with a current population of 1.426 billion, but Wilmoth said there is more uncertainty about that date than the Earth reaching 8 billion inhabitants on Nov. 15.
Wilmoth said the U.N. moved the date forward from 2027, especially as a result of China’s 2020 census. India had been planning its census in 2021, but he said it was delayed because of the pandemic. The U.N. will reassess its projection after it takes place.