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UN Population Report: Key Takeaways

Context:

India is now the most populous country in the world, having overtaken China in population, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said in its State of World Population (SOWP) report, ‘8 Billion Lives, Infinite Possibilities’.

Relevance:

GS II: International Relations, GS I: Population related issues

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Highlights of UNFPA’s Report on World Population
  2. Population Growth Outlook
  3. How has increasing life expectancy impacted global population growth?
  4. India’s Population: Facts and Figures
  5. United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

Highlights of UNFPA’s Report on World Population

  • World population is 8,045 million, with the largest share (65%) between ages 15-64, followed by those in 10-24 years group (24%) and 10% above 65 years.
  • Eastern & South-Eastern Asia and Central & Southern Asia are the world’s most populous regions, accounting for 29% and 26% of the global population, respectively.
  • China and India have the largest populations in these regions, with over 1.4 billion each in 2022.
  • Central & Southern Asia is projected to become the most populous region in the world by 2037.
  • Global population could reach 8.5 billion by 2030, 9.7 billion by 2050, and 10.4 billion by 2100.
  • Over half of the projected increase in global population up to 2050 will be concentrated in eight countries, namely, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, and the United Republic of Tanzania.
  • Sub-Saharan African countries are expected to continue growing through 2100 and contribute more than half of the global population increase anticipated through 2050.

Population Growth Outlook:

  • Global population growth rate has declined and has been less than 1% since 2020 due to falling fertility rates.
  • Total fertility rate at or below 2.1 children per woman is considered replacement fertility rate, and already two-thirds of people live in such areas.
  • In 2020, 281 million people lived outside their country of birth, with international migration being a driver of growth in many countries.
  • South Asia has some of the highest emigration trends, with India seeing an estimated net outflow of 3.5 million and Pakistan having the highest net flow of migrants of 16.5 million.
  • Despite declining fertility rates, the total annual number of births has remained stable at around 140 million since the late 1980s due to the youthful age distribution of the global population.
  • Most births in 2021 occurred in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, and the number of newborns is expected to slightly increase to reach 138 million annually between 2040 and 2045.

How has increasing life expectancy impacted global population growth?

Life expectancy and declining mortality rates are among the factors contributing to global population growth, according to the UNFPA. The 2023 report highlights the following findings related to life expectancy:

  • In 2019, global life expectancy was 72.8 years, up nearly 9 years from 1990.
  • Men have a life expectancy of 71 years, while women have a life expectancy of 76 years.
  • Average global longevity is projected to reach 77.2 years by 2050, as mortality rates continue to decline.
  • The share of the population aged 65 or above is expected to rise from 10% in 2022 to 16% in 2050.
  • By 2050, the number of people aged 65 or above is expected to be more than double that of 5-year-olds and equal to that of 12-year-olds.

As fertility rates drop in high-fertility regions, such as sub-Saharan Africa, the global population is expected to eventually decline. However, for now, increasing life expectancy continues to contribute to global population growth.

India’s Population: Facts and Figures

Overview:
  • India is the most populous country in the world with 1,428.6 million people.
  • The country has a young population, with 68% of its population belonging to the 15-64 years category, and 26% in the 10-24 years group.
  • However, India’s fertility rate has been steadily dropping, and the National Family Health 5 Survey (2019-21) found that India attained a Total Fertility Rate of 2.0 for the first time, less than the replacement level of 2.1, falling from 2.2 in NFHS 4 (2015-16).
Population Growth:
  • India’s large population is a result of “population momentum” from earlier decades, and experts predict that the country’s population is likely to start declining closer to 2050.
  • The increased use of contraceptive methods, spacing of pregnancies, access to health care, and the impetus to family planning have contributed to the rate of growth of population slowing.
Life Expectancy:
  • Life expectancy for men in India is 71 years, the same as the global average, while it is marginally lower for women at 74 years.
Demographic Dividend:
  • With 68% of its population as youth and a working population, India could have one of the largest workforces in the world, giving it a global advantage.
  • Experts talk about the opportunity of India’s “demographic dividend,” which could help spur economic growth by educating and skilling its youth and providing this skilled labor to countries in need of such a workforce in the near future.

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is a UN agency that was established in 1969. It is responsible for promoting universal access to reproductive health care, supporting population and development strategies, and advocating for women’s rights.

Mission and Objectives:

The UNFPA’s mission is to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. The agency has several objectives:

  • Promote reproductive health and rights: UNFPA works to ensure that every individual has access to reproductive health care services and information, including family planning, maternal health care, and prevention of sexually transmitted infections.
  • Support gender equality: The agency advocates for the empowerment of women and girls, including efforts to end gender-based violence and child marriage.
  • Provide humanitarian assistance: UNFPA works to provide essential reproductive health services during times of humanitarian crises, including conflicts and natural disasters.
  • Promote population and development strategies: The agency supports countries in developing policies and programs that integrate population and development goals.

-Source: Indian Express


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