Friday, December 09, 2022

The UN population report explained: A look at trends, projections and implications

According to the 2022 edition of the United Nations World Population Perspectives (WPP), released on Monday, India is expected to overtake China as the world’s most populous country by 2023. It also projected that the world’s population will reach 8 billion on November 15, 2022.

What are the World Population Prospects?

The UN Population Division has been publishing the WPP on a biennial cycle since 1951. Each revision of the WPP provides a historical series of population indicators from 1950. It does so by taking into account newly released national data to revise estimates of trends. spent in fertility, mortality or international migration.

What are the main findings for the global population?

1. The world population continues to grow, but the pace of growth is slowing: the global population is expected to grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050 and 10.4 billion in 2100. In 2020, the rate of Global growth has dropped below 1% a year for the first time since 1950.

two. Population growth rates vary significantly across countries and regions: more than half of the projected increase in global population by 2050 will be concentrated in just eight countries: Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines and the United Republic from Tanzania. Disparate growth rates among the world’s largest countries will reorder their ranking by size. The 46 least developed countries (LDCs) are among the fastest growing in the world. Many are projected to double the population between 2022 and 2050, putting additional pressure on resources and posing challenges to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

3. The elderly population is increasing both in number and as a proportion of the total: the share of the global population aged 65 and over is expected to increase from 10% in 2022 to 16% in 2050. As such, the report warns that countries with aging populations should take steps to adapt public programs to the growing proportion of older people, including improving the sustainability of social security and pension systems and establishing universal health and long-term care systems.

Trend 3Source: World Population Prospects 2022, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs

4. A sustained decline in fertility has led to an increase in the concentration of the working-age population (between 25 and 64 years), creating an opportunity for accelerated economic growth per capita: this shift in age distribution provides a temporal opportunity for accelerated economic growth known as “demographic dividend”. “To maximize the potential benefits of a favorable age distribution, countries need to invest in developing their human capital, ensuring access to quality health care and education at all ages and promoting opportunities for productive employment and decent work,” he said. the UN. report says.

5. International migration is having important impacts on population trends in some countries: for high-income countries between 2000 and 2020, the contribution of international migration to population growth (net inflow of 80.5 million) exceeded the balance of births over deaths ( 66.2 million). In the coming decades, migration will be the sole driver of population growth in high-income countries. For 10 countries, the estimated net outflow of migrants exceeded 1 million in the period 2010 to 2021. In many of these countries, outflows are due to temporary labor movements, as in Pakistan (net inflow of -16.5 million) , India (-3.5 million), Bangladesh (-2.9 million), Nepal (-1.6 million) and Sri Lanka (-1.0 million). In other countries, including the Syrian Arab Republic (-4.6 million), Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) (-4.8 million) and Myanmar (-1.0 million), insecurity and conflict have driven migrants out. in this period.

Trend 4Source: World Population Prospects 2022, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs

How reliable is the UN projection and how does it compare with the Census of India?

KS James, director and senior professor at the International Institute of Population Sciences (IIPS), said the UN WPP has a long history and several countries use these projections. “It’s an authentic source and there’s no question about its credibility,” James said.

In India, of course, the secretary general presents a population projection based on the census. The last such projection was released in 2019 and was based on the 2011 Census. “The Census projection is slightly lower than the UN projection,” James said. As such, he said, if not by 2023, in a few years India would overtake China as the most populous country in the world.

Trend 2Source: World Population Prospects 2022, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs

What is the meaning of India overtaking China?

It has been known for some time that India would overtake China. Also, in the past, when the world population was still at levels of 5 billion or 6 billion, there was a concern about overcrowding. But, James said, those concerns no longer exist because the global population is now 8 billion and several countries (including India) have achieved a fertility replacement rate. “The concern now is not with the absolute numbers – India’s population is already 1.4 billion and could reach 1.6 billion before it drops – but with the quality of life of the people alive,” James said. “The focus has now shifted to whether we can reduce poverty, provide healthcare facilities, education etc.,” he said.

Looking at the data from India, it is clear that as things stand, the 0-14 and 15-24 cohorts will continue to decline, while the 25-64 and 65+ cohorts will continue to increase for decades to come.

TrendsSource: World Population Prospects 2022, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs

So what are the policy implications of these two trends?

For those already in the 25-64 age range, James stressed the need for qualification. “Although those already in this range are less educated than the current generation, they cannot be brought back to school. Qualification is the only way to ensure they are more productive and earn better. This is the main policy challenge for this cohort,” said James.

Category 65+ will grow quite fast and face several challenges. The provision of social security is obviously a major challenge. This will stretch the resources of future governments. In this context, James points out that if the elderly remain in the family structure, the burden on the government can be reduced. “If we go back to our roots and stay as families, against the Western tendency to opt for individualism, the challenges would be less,” he said.

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