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India and Nigeria: Countries With the Fastest Growing Populations

India will surpass China and become the most populous country in 2022. Africa is the continent with the largest population growth. The world population will reach 9,600 million in 2050, according to UN projections. 

The UN demographic trend reflected in the last report published confirms the uneven growth across countries and continents of the global population. The document, prepared by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations, said that Africa will experience a population boost and will have even higher rates of population growth than Asia. India at the other end will overtake China as the most populous country in the world in 2022, with around 1,400 million.

These alarming figures mean that the population of India will account for 19% of the global population in 2050, while China will have 18%. Currently, some 1,310 million people live in India, compared to approximately 1,380 million in China; a difference that will disappear in the next seven years.

But neither China or India are the big surprise in this report. It is Africa that will top the population growth in the world, and more specifically Nigeria will be the country whose population will increase the most. According to UN projections, in less than forty years Nigeria could have more inhabitants than the United States. According to the UN, the African country will increase from the current 182 million to more than 262 in 2030, almost 400 million in 2050; while the United States will continue to grow, albeit more slowly, and by 2050 its population is estimated at about 389 million.

The UN experts stressed the relationship between population growth and rates of development of each country. Over the next decades, the majority of the world population will be concentrated mainly in countries like India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Indonesia or Uganda. All places where it is "increasingly difficult to eradicate poverty and inequality and fight hunger and malnutrition", as indicated in a statement John Wilmoth, director of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the UN. It is, he explained, an issues whose solution is "crucial to the success of the new sustainable development agenda developed by the United Nations."

Population growth is accompanied by an increase in the average age and the reduction of child deaths in the world. The improvement in life expectancy is one of the goals of the UN. Their analysts stressed that in the last fifteen years the mortality of children under five fell by over 30% in 86 countries and in 13 countries the decline was over 50%.

"Understanding the demographic changes that may develop in the coming years, and the challenges and opportunities presented to achieve sustainable development are key to the implementation of the development agenda of the United Nations," said Wu Hongbo , secretary of the department that produced the report.

According to projections, the number of people aged 60 or above will double by 2050 and triple by 2100. Europe is the continent with the highest rates of aging, with an increase of 34% of people exceeding 60 years live span. 

Countries with the fastest growing populations

10. Uganda

  • Population Growth 2011-2050: 71 million
  • 2015 Population: 37.1 million (39th largest)
  • Pct. Increase: +206% (3rd greatest)
  • Pct. of Population < 15: 48% (3rd greatest)
  • GDP per Capita: $1,800

Ugandas population is set to triple over the next 40 years. Compared to other countries, it is the third biggest increase as a percent of the population. By 2050, a nation that is one fortieth the size of the U.S. will add the equivalent of one fourth of the U.S. population. The country has the 31st highest death rate in the world. As a counterbalance, it has the second highest birth rate in the world. The average Ugandan woman has 6.4 children. The country is already experiencing extreme poverty and disease, and tripling the population in the next four decades could be disastrous. Uganda currently has the tenth highest rate of AIDS contraction in the world, and is already experiencing shortages of clean water and land for farming.

9. Indonesia

  • Population Growth 2011-2050: 71 million
  • 2015 Population: 255,9 million (4th largest)
  • Pct. Increase: +30% (106th greatest)
  • Pct. of Population < 15: 28% (105th greatest)
  • GDP per Capita: $10,200

While the island nation has the fourth largest population in the world, after the China, India, and the U.S, it is fairly small, covering slightly less land than the state of Texas. The southeast Asian country is projected to increase in population by 30% in the next three years. Despite the fact that it will be adding more than 70 million people, the country is expected to drop to sixth in overall population. According to Indonesian Statistics Association chairman, Khairil Anwar Notodiputro, Indonesia was on the brink of a serious crisis if its population growth wasnt held in check.

8. Bangladesh

  • Population Growth 2011-2050: 76 million
  • 2015 Population: 168,9 million (9th largest)
  • Pct. Increase: +50% (72nd greatest)
  • Pct. of Population < 15: 31% (89th greatest)
  • GDP per Capita: $3,400

The countrys overwhelming population density of just over 1,000 people per square kilometer is the seventh highest concentration of people in the world  Bangladesh has the eighth largest population in the world, but barely ranks in the top 100 for land mass. The six that beat Bangladesh for population density are all relatively small protectorates and city-nations, like Macao, Singapore, and Bahrain. Already straining to fit its 76 million people, Bangladeshs urban slums are some of the poorest in the world. Its capital city, Dhaka, has a population of 15 million, nearly double the size of New York City. That population is expected to hit 20 million by 2025. Unsafe drinking water and poor sanitation are just some of the issues the country already faces. Those will likely only get worse as the population continues to grow.

7. Democratic Republic of Congo

  • Population Growth 2011-2050: 81 million
  • 2015 Population: 79,3 million (21st largest)
  • Pct. Increase: +119% (33rd greatest)
  • Pct. of Population < 15: 46% (7th greatest)
  • GDP per Capita: $700

The Democratic Republic of Congo is arguably the poorest country in the world. The U.S. GDP per capita is $48,665. In the DAR, that number is an unbelievable $343. That number will likely only continue to decline as the central African nation adds a projected 81 million people, more than doubling in size by 2050. Ravaged by war and disease, the country has the highest number of deaths per capita each year. Nearly half of its population is under the age of fifteen, compared to just 20% in the United States. The average life expectancy in the country is 50 for women and 47 for men.

6. Ethiopia

  • Population Growth 2011-2050: 87 million
  • 2015 Population: 99,4 million (15th largest)
  • Pct. Increase: +100% (47th greatest)
  • Pct. of Population < 15: 44% (19th greatest)
  • GDP per Capita: $1,500

Ethiopias population is set to double by 2050, moving it from the 15th most populous country in the world to the ninth. Part of the reason for this is the countrys low rate of contraceptive usage. Just 15% of women aged 15-49 report using birth control, compared to nearly 80% in the United States. 78% of the population lives on less than $2 per day, and GDP per capita is just over $1,000. Life expectancy at birth is an average of 56 years. That is more than 20 years less than the average American. Ethiopia is already struggling to feed its current population. Adding more than 20 million people will not make matters easier.

5. Tanzania

  • Population Growth 2011-2050: 92 million
  • 2015 Population: 51 million (30th largest)
  • Pct. Increase: +199% (5th greatest)
  • Pct. of Population < 15: 45% (15th greatest)
  • GDP per Capita: $1,900

Tanzanias current population of 46.2 million is expected to triple by 2050. This is going to cause the East African countrys population density, which is currently relatively low, to skyrocket. The countrys area is roughly 350,000 square miles, approximately twice the size of California. Tanzania is expected to have over 138 million people by 2050. As of 2009, 5.6% of the countrys population lived with HIV/AIDS, the twelfth highest recorded rate in the world. Life expectancy at birth is just 57 years.

4. United States

  • Population Growth 2011-2050: 111 million
  • 2015 Population: 321,3 (3rd largest)
  • Pct. Increase: +36% (94th greatest)
  • Pct. of Population < 15: 20% (150th greatest)
  • GDP per Capita: $54,800

The United States is an outlier among the countries set to add the most people for many reasons. It is the only developed nation on this list, with most European populations remaining flat, and some actually losing citizens by 2050. Over the next four decades, the world is expected to add 2.6 billion people. The developed world will only account for 90 million of the projected 2.6 billion population increase by 2050. The United States is the only country that keeps the developed world growing  it is projected to add 111 million people.

3. Pakistan

  • Population Growth 2011-2050: 137 million
  • 2015 Population: 199 (6th largest)
  • Pct. Increase: +77.6% (55th greatest)
  • Pct. of Population < 15: 36% (60th greatest)
  • GDP per Capita: $4,700

Pakistan is slightly smaller than Tanzania, or nearly twice the area of California. Despite its relatively small size, the country has the sixth largest population in the world. Only 27% of women between the ages of 15 and 49 use contraception, and that percentage drops to 19% for women using modern methods of contraception. In the United States, those numbers are 79% for all methods and 73% for modern methods. Additionally, the percentage of the population that is under 15 years of age is nine times the percentage that is 65 or older.

2. Nigeria

  • Population Growth 2011-2050: 271 million
  • 2015 Population: 181,5 (7th largest)
  • Pct. Increase: +167% (7th greatest)
  • Pct. of Population < 15: 43% (25th greatest)
  • GDP per Capita: $6,100

Nigeria currently has the 7th largest population in the world. By 2050, the United Nations projects it will rise to 3rd, passing Brazil and the United States. Nigeria will nearly triple to 433 million people, adding the equivalent of the 30 most populous states in the U.S. Nigeria suffers from poor access to safe drinking water  just 42% of the rural population has access to clean water. As is the case in most of sub-Saharan Africa, AIDS is a serious problem in the country, as is infant mortality. Each year, 17 out of every 1,000 Nigerians die. This is the second highest rate in the world. However, low use of birth control and high fertility have counteracted these conditions to produce skyrocketing population growth.

1. India

  • Population Growth 2011-2050: 450 million
  • 2015 Population: 1,251,6 (2nd largest)
  • Pct. Increase: +36% (93rd greatest)
  • Pct. of Population < 15: 33% (77th greatest)
  • GDP per Capita: $5,800

India, the worlds second largest country by population (the world´s largest in 2022), currently accounts for just under 17.5% of the worlds population and shows no signs of slowing down. By 2022, the country is projected to surpass China as the most populous in the world  a place India is expected to hold through 2050.  


“Already strained, many developing countries will likely face tremendous difficulties in supplying food, water, housing, and energy to their growing populations, with repercussions for health, security, and economic growth,” according to the release. The areas with the highest projected populations increases, primarily Africa and Southern Asia, are already suffering from the consequences overpopulation. These conditions will only worsen as populations in Uganda, Nigeria, India and Bangladesh double and, in some cases, even triple over the next 40 years. 

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