Demographics of Earth
Population pyramid of the world in 2022 by the UN
PopulationOver 8,000,000,000 (estimated)
Fertility rate2.32 (2021)

Earth has a human population of over 8 billion as of 2023, with an overall population density of 50 people per km2 (130 per sq. mile), excluding Antarctica. Nearly 60% of the world's population lives in Asia, with almost 2.8 billion in the countries of India and China combined. The percentage shares of India, China and rest of South Asia of the world population have remained at similar levels for the last few thousand years of recorded history.[1][2] The world's literacy rate has increased dramatically in the last 40 years, from 66.7% in 1979 to 86.3% today.[3] Lower literacy levels are mostly attributable to poverty.[citation needed] Lower literacy rates are found mostly in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.[4] The world's largest ethnic group is Han Chinese, constituting over 19% of the global population in 2011.[5] In terms of the largest number of native speakers, Mandarin is the world's most spoken language.

The world's population is predominantly urban and suburban,[6] and there has been significant migration toward cities and urban centres. The urban population jumped from 29% in 1950 to 55.3% in 2018.[7][8] Interpolating from the United Nations prediction that the world will be 51.3 percent urban by 2010, Ron Wimberley, Libby Morris and Gregory Fulkerson estimated 23 May 2007 would have been the first time the urban population outnumbered the rural population in history.[9] India and China are the most populous countries,[10] as the birth rate has consistently dropped in wealthy countries and until recently remained high in poorer countries. Tokyo is the largest urban agglomeration in the world.[8]

As of 2021, the total fertility rate of the world is estimated at 2.32[11] children per woman, which is slightly below the global average for the replacement fertility rate of approximately 2.33 (as of 2003),[12] which would mean the world's population is declining. However, world population growth is unevenly distributed, with the total fertility rate ranging from one of the world's lowest 0.83 in Singapore, to the highest, 6.49 in Niger.[13] The United Nations estimated an annual population increase of 1.14% for the year of 2000.[14] The current world population growth is approximately 1.09%.[8] People under 15 years of age made up over a quarter of the world population (25.18%), and people age 65 and over made up nearly ten percent (9.69%) in 2021.[8]

The world population more than tripled during the 20th century from about 1.65 billion in 1900 to 5.97 billion in 1999.[15][16][17] It reached the 2 billion mark in 1927, the 3 billion mark in 1960, 4 billion in 1974, and 5 billion in 1987.[18] The overall population of the world is approximately 8 billion as of November 2022. Currently, population growth is fastest among low wealth, least developed countries.[19] The UN projects a world population of 9.15 billion in 2050, a 32.7% increase from 6.89 billion in 2010.[15]

History

Comparison of humans living today with all previous generations

Historical migration of human populations begins with the movement of Homo erectus out of Africa across Eurasia about a million years ago. Homo sapiens appear to have occupied all of Africa about 300,000 years ago, moved out of Africa 50,000 – 60,000 years ago, and had spread across Australia, Asia and Europe by 30,000 years BC. Migration to the Americas took place 20,000 to 15,000 years ago, and by 2,000 years ago, most of the Pacific Islands were colonized.

Until c. 10,000 years ago, humans lived as hunter-gatherers. They generally lived in small nomadic groups known as band societies. The advent of agriculture prompted the Neolithic Revolution, when access to food surplus led to the formation of permanent human settlements. About 6,000 years ago, the first proto-states developed in Mesopotamia, Egypt's Nile Valley and the Indus Valley. Early human settlements were dependent on proximity to water and, depending on the lifestyle, other natural resources used for subsistence. But humans have a great capacity for altering their habitats by means of technology.

Since 1800, the human population has increased from one billion[20] to over eight billion.[21] In 2004, some 2.5 billion out of 6.3 billion people (39.7%) lived in urban areas. In February 2008, the U.N. estimated that half the world's population would live in urban areas by the end of the year.[22] Problems for humans living in cities include various forms of pollution and crime,[23] especially in inner city and suburban slums. Both overall population numbers and the proportion residing in cities are expected to increase significantly in the coming decades.[24]

World Population, AD 1–1998 (in thousands)

Source: Maddison and others. (University of Groningen).[25]

Year 1 1000 1500 1600 1700 1820 1870 1913 1950 1973 1998
Western Europe 24 700 25 413 57 268 73 778 81 460 132 888 187 532 261 007 305 060 358 390 388 399
Eastern Europe
(excluding USSR countries)
4 750 6 500 13 500 16 950 18 800 36 415 52 182 79 604 87 289 110 490 121 006
Former USSR 3 900 7 100 16 950 20 700 26 550 54 765 88 672 156 192 180 050 249 748 290 866
Total Europe
(including USSR countries)
33 350 39 013 87 718 111 428 126 810 224 068 328 386 496 803 572 399 718 628 800 271
United States[26] 680 1 300 2 000 1 500 1 000 9 981 40 241 97 606 152 271 212 909 279 040
Other Western Offshoots 490 660 800 800 750 1 249 5 892 13 795 23 823 39 036 52 859
Total Western Offshoots 1 170 1 960 2 800 2 300 1 750 11 230 46 133 111 401 176 094 250 945 323 420
Mexico 2 200 4 500 7 500 2 500 4 500 6 587 9 219 14 970 28 485 57 643 98 553
Other Latin America 3 400 6 900 10 000 6 100 7 550 14 633 30 754 65 545 137 352 250 807 409 070
Total Latin America 5 600 11 400 17 500 8 600 12 050 21 220 39 973 80 515 165 837 308 450 507 623
Japan 3 000 7 500 15 400 18 500 27 000 31 000 34 437 51 672 83 563 108 660 126 469
China 59 600 59 000 103 000 160 000 138 000 381 000 358 000 437 140 546 815 881 940 1 242 700
India 75 000 77 000 113 000 145 000 201 000 209 000 239 000 319 000 362 000 549 000 1 029 000
Other Asia 36 600 41 400 55 400 65 000 71 800 89 366 119 619 185 092 392 481 677 214 1 172 243
Total Asia (excluding Japan) 171 200 175 400 268 400 360 000 374 800 679 366 730 619 925 932 1 298 296 2 139 154 3 389 943
Africa 16 500 33 000 46 000 55 000 61 000 74 208 90 466 124 697 228 342 387 645 759 954
World (thousands) 230,820 268,273 437,818 555,828 603,410 1,041,092 1,270,014 1,791,020 2,524,531 3,913,482 5,907,680

Shares of world population, AD 1–1998 (% of world total)

Source: Maddison and others. (University of Groningen).[25]

Year 1 1000 1500 1600 1700 1820 1870 1913 1950 1973 1998
Western Europe 10.7 9.5 13.1 13.3 13.5 12.8 14.8 14.6 12.1 9.2 6.6
Eastern Europe
(excluding USSR countries)
2.1 2.4 3.1 3.0 3.1 3.5 4.1 4.4 3.5 2.8 2.0
Former USSR 1.7 2.6 3.9 3.7 4.4 5.3 7.0 8.7 7.1 6.4 4.9
Total Europe
(including USSR countries)
14.5 14.5 20.1 20.0 21.0 21.6 25.9 27.7 22.7 18.4 13.5
United States 0.3 0.5 0.5 0.3 0.2 1.0 3.2 5.4 6.0 5.4 4.6
Other Western Offshoots 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.5 0.8 0.9 1.0 0.9
Total Western Offshoots 0.5 0.7 0.6 0.4 0.3 1.1 3.6 6.2 7.0 6.4 5.5
Mexico 1.0 1.7 1.7 0.4 0.7 0.6 0.7 0.8 1.1 1.5 1.7
Other Latin America 1.5 2.6 2.3 1.1 1.3 1.4 2.4 3.7 5.4 6.4 6.9
Total Latin America 2.4 4.2 4.0 1.5 2.0 2.0 3.1 4.5 6.6 7.9 8.6
Japan 1.3 2.8 3.5 3.3 4.5 3.0 2.7 2.9 3.3 2.8 2.1
China 25.8 22.0 23.5 28.8 22.9 36.6 28.2 24.4 21.7 22.5 21.0
India 32.5 28.0 25.1 24.3 27.3 20.1 19.9 17.0 14.2 14.8 16.5
Other Asia 15.9 15.4 12.7 11.7 11.9 8.6 9.4 10.3 15.5 17.3 19.8
Total Asia (excluding Japan) 74.2 65.4 61.3 64.8 62.1 65.3 57.5 51.7 51.4 54.7 57.4
Africa 7.1 12.3 10.5 9.9 10.1 7.1 7.1 7.0 9.0 9.9 12.9
World 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Historical vital statistics

The following estimates of global trends in various demographic indicators from 1950 to 2021 are from UN DESA's World Population Prospects 2022. In July 2022, UN DESA published its 2022 World Population Prospects, a biennially-updated database where key demographic indicators are estimated and projected worldwide and on the country and regional level.[27]

Year World population
(in thousands)
Population density per km2 Live births
(in thousands)
Deaths
(in thousands)
Population growth (in %) Crude birth rate (per 1000) Crude death rate (per 1000) Total fertility rate (TFR) Infant mortality (per 1000 births) Life expectancy (in years)
1950 2 499 322 19.2 92 083 48 789 1.73 36.8 19.5 4.86 143.4 46.5
1951 2 543 130 19.5   92 837   48 515 1.74 36.5 19.1 4.83 141.3 47.1
1952 2 590 271 19.9   97 607   47 647 1.93 37.7 18.4 5.01 137.3 48.2
1953 2 640 279 20.2   97 556   47 499 1.90 36.9 18.0 4.94 134.5 48.8
1954 2 691 979 20.6   100 348   47 003 1.98 37.3 17.5 5.01 131.7 49.6
1955 2 746 072 21.1   101 807   46 966 2.00 37.1 17.1 5.01 128.8 50.1
1956 2 801 003 21.5   101 827   46 807 1.96 36.4 16.7 4.94 125.8 50.6
1957 2 857 867 21.9   105 978   47 269 2.05 37.1 16.5 5.08 123.7 50.9
1958 2 916 108 22.4   104 557   46 783 1.98 35.9 16.0 4.94 121.1 51.5
1959 2 970 292 22.8   101 922   51 327 1.70 34.3 17.3 4.74 129.6 49.3
1960 3 019 233 23.2   102 262   54 974 1.57 33.9 18.2 4.70 135.1 47.7
1961 3 068 371 23.5   100 990   50 003 1.66 32.9 16.3 4.57 124.2 50.4
1962 3 126 687 24.0   112 053   46 406 2.10 35.8 14.8 5.03 112.9 53.1
1963 3 195 779 24.5   119 819   47 280 2.27 37.5 14.8 5.32 110.1 53.6
1964 3 267 212 25.1   117 393   47 065 2.15 35.9 14.4 5.13 108.2 54.2
1965 3 337 112 25.6   117 932   48 460 2.08 35.3 14.5 5.08 108.4 53.9
1966 3 406 417 26.1   117 182   48 044 2.03 34.4 14.1 4.96 106.8 54.5
1967 3 475 448 26.7   116 840   47 915 1.98 33.6 13.8 4.86 105.0 54.9
1968 3 546 811 27.2   121 750   47 948 2.08 34.3 13.5 4.96 101.9 55.5
1969 3 620 655 27.8   122 123   48 235 2.04 33.7 13.3 4.87 100.2 55.8
1970 3 695 390 28.3   124 117   48 534 2.05 33.6 13.1 4.83 98.5 56.1
1971 3 770 163 28.9   123 647   49 684 1.96 32.8 13.2 4.68 97.7 55.9
1972 3 844 801 29.5   123 275   47 962 1.96 32.1 12.5 4.55 95.0 57.1
1973 3 920 252 30.1   123 269   47 680 1.93 31.4 12.2 4.42 93.4 57.6
1974 3 995 517 30.6   122 437   47 494 1.88 30.6 11.9 4.27 92.0 58.0
1975 4 069 437 31.2   120 491   47 593 1.79 29.6 11.7 4.08 90.7 58.3
1976 4 142 506 31.8   120 648   47 408 1.77 29.1 11.4 3.98 88.7 58.7
1977 4 215 772 32.3   120 040   46 746 1.74 28.5 11.1 3.85 86.9 59.4
1978 4 289 658 32.9   121 337   46 860 1.74 28.3 10.9 3.79 84.9 59.7
1979 4 365 583 33.5   124 288   46 914 1.77 28.5 10.7 3.78 82.6 60.2
1980 4 444 008 34.1   126 793   47 317 1.79 28.5 10.6 3.75 80.4 60.6
1981 4 524 628 34.7   129 153   47 388 1.81 28.5 10.5 3.72 78.3 61.0
1982 4 607 985 35.3   132 513   47 562 1.84 28.8 10.3 3.71 76.1 61.4
1983 4 691 884 36.0   130 983   48 134 1.77 27.9 10.3 3.58 75.7 61.6
1984 4 775 836 36.6   133 397   48 341 1.78 27.9 10.1 3.55 74.1 61.9
1985 4 861 731 37.3   135 420   48 685 1.78 27.9 10.0 3.52 72.4 62.2
1986 4 950 063 38.0   138 420   48 487 1.82 28.0 9.8 3.51 70.4 62.8
1987 5 040 984 38.7   140 545   48 634 1.82 27.9 9.6 3.48 68.3 63.2
1988 5 132 294 39.4   139 993   49 284 1.77 27.3 9.6 3.39 67.8 63.3
1989 5 223 704 40.1   141 177   49 064 1.76 27.0 9.4 3.35 65.9 63.8
1990 5 316 176 40.8   142 451   49 620 1.75 26.8 9.3 3.31 64.6 64.0
1991 5 406 246 41.5   137 392   50 082 1.62 25.4 9.3 3.13 64.6 64.1
1992 5 492 686 42.1   135 754   50 182 1.56 24.7 9.1 3.04 63.8 64.3
1993 5 577 434 42.8   134 693   50 769 1.51 24.2 9.1 2.98 62.6 64.4
1994 5 660 728 43.4   134 185   51 519 1.46 23.7 9.1 2.93 61.6 64.5
1995 5 743 219 44.0   133 673   51 355 1.43 23.3 8.9 2.88 60.6 64.9
1996 5 825 145 44.7   133 053   51 519 1.40 22.8 8.8 2.83 59.4 65.1
1997 5 906 481 45.3   132 598   51 459 1.37 22.5 8.7 2.79 58.1 65.5
1998 5 987 312 45.9   132 287   51 762 1.35 22.1 8.6 2.76 57.0 65.7
1999 6 067 758 46.5   132 364   51 997 1.33 21.8 8.6 2.73 55.1 66.1
2000 6 148 899 47.2   134 014   52 100 1.33 21.8 8.5 2.73 53.3 66.5
2001 6 230 747 47.8   133 878   52 095 1.31 21.5 8.4 2.70 51.8 66.8
2002 6 312 407 48.4   134 020   52 481 1.29 21.2 8.3 2.67 50.1 67.1
2003 6 393 898 49.0   134 302   52 858 1.27 21.0 8.3 2.65 48.3 67.5
2004 6 475 751 49.7   135 228   52 965 1.27 20.9 8.2 2.64 46.6 67.8
2005 6 558 176 50.3   135 800   53 213 1.26 20.7 8.1 2.62 44.9 68.2
2006 6 641 416 50.9   136 910   53 016 1.26 20.6 8.0 2.61 43.1 68.7
2007 6 725 949 51.6   138 563   53 392 1.27 20.6 7.9 2.61 41.4 69.1
2008 6 811 597 52.2   140 164   54 038 1.26 20.6 7.9 2.61 39.9 69.3
2009 6 898 306 52.9   141 201   53 910 1.27 20.5 7.8 2.61 38.4 69.8
2010 6 985 603 53.6   141 633   54 329 1.25 20.3 7.8 2.59 37.1 70.1
2011 7 073 125 54.2   142 135   54 394 1.24 20.1 7.7 2.57 35.8 70.5
2012 7 161 698 54.9   144 194   54 790 1.25 20.1 7.7 2.59 34.4 70.9
2013 7 250 593 55.6   143 422   55 034 1.22 19.8 7.6 2.56 33.5 71.2
2014 7 339 013 56.3   143 671   55 218 1.21 19.6 7.5 2.55 32.3 71.6
2015 7 426 598 57.0   142 608   55 893 1.17 19.2 7.5 2.52 31.5 71.8
2016 7 513 474 57.6   143 239   56 201 1.16 19.1 7.5 2.53 30.5 72.1
2017 7 599 822 58.3   142 624   56 966 1.13 18.8 7.5 2.50 29.6 72.3
2018 7 683 790 58.9   139 629   57 352 1.07 18.2 7.5 2.44 29.2 72.6
2019 7 764 951 59.5   137 984   57 939 1.03 17.8 7.5 2.41 28.7 72.8
2020 7 840 953 60.1   135 133   63 174 0.92 17.2 8.1 2.35 28.3 72.0
2021 7 909 295 60.7   133 975   69 248 0.82 16.9 8.8 2.32 27.9 71.0

Notable events in World demography:

Graphs are temporarily unavailable due to technical issues.
Graphs are temporarily unavailable due to technical issues.
Graphs are temporarily unavailable due to technical issues.
Graphs are temporarily unavailable due to technical issues.

Current world population and latest projection

Main article: World population

Population pyramid of the world in continental groupings in 2023
Current world population and latest projection according the UN. Population in (millions) and percent of the global population in that year.[28]
Region 2022 (percent) 2030 (percent) 2050 (percent)
Sub-Saharan Africa 1,152 (14.51%) 1,401 (16.46%) 2,094 (21.62%)
Northern Africa and Western Asia 549 (6.91%) 617 (7.25%) 771 (7.96%)
Southern and Central Asia 2,065 (26.13%) 2,248 (26.41%) 2,575 (26.58%)
Eastern Asia[29] 1,642 (20.71%) 1,647 (19.32%) 1,522 (15.71%)
Southeastern Asia[29] 675 (8.49%) 721 (8.47%) 771 (7.95%)
Europe and Northern America 1,120 (14.10%) 1,129 (13.26%) 1,125 (11.61%)
Latin America and the Caribbean 658 (8.29%) 695 (8.17%) 749 (7.73%)
Australia/New Zealand 31 (0.39%) 34 (0.40%) 38 (0.39%)
Other Oceania 14 (0.18%) 15 (0.18%) 20 (0.21%)
World 7,942 8,512 9,687

2019 population distribution

Region (2019) Number Percentage[30]
Asia
4,607,523,595
59.8%
Africa
1,313,074,183
16.7%
Europe
747,253,261
9.8%
North America
565,620,340
7.2%
South America
427,751,538
5.5%
Oceania
42,213,121
0.5%
Antarctica
0 (1,106 estimated non-permanent research personnel)
0.0%
Total
7,792,204,108
100.0%

Major cities

The world has hundreds of major cities, mostly in coastal regions.

As of 2022, the world had 159 metropolitan areas with a population of over 3,000,000 people each.[31]

As of 2010, about 3 billion people live in or around urban areas.[8]

The following table shows the populations of the top thirteen conglomerations.

Rank City Population Country Statistical concept[32] Area (km2)[a] Density (p/km2)
1 Tokyo 37,500,000  Japan Metropolitan area[b] 13,500 2,777.78
2 Shanghai 24,180,000  China Urban agglomeration[c] 3,920 6,168
3 New York City 23,600,000[33]  United States Urban agglomeration 21,483[34] 1,098
4 Mexico City 22,460,000  Mexico Metropolitan area (zona metropolitana) 7,815 2,490
5 Delhi 22,157,000  India Urban agglomeration[d] 33,578 659
6 São Paulo 22,048,504[35]  Brazil Metropolitan Area 7,946.96 2,714.45
7 Moscow 21,534,777  Russia Metropolitan area 26,000 770
8 Lagos 21,000,000  Nigeria Metropolitan area 1,171 17,933
9 Cairo 20,901,000  Egypt Metropolitan area 1,709[36] 10,400
10 Karachi 20,382,000[37]  Pakistan Metropolitan area (megacity) 3,530 4,224
11 Mumbai 20,041,000  India Urban agglomeration 1,097[e] 18,268
12 Kolkata 15,552,000  India Urban agglomeration 1,026[38] 15,158
13 Dhaka 14,648,000  Bangladesh Metropolitan area (megacity) 1,600 9,155

Population density

See also: List of countries and dependencies by population density

Population density (people per km2) by country, 2018

The world's population is over 8 billion[39] and Earth's total surface area (including land and water) is 510 million square kilometres (197 million square miles).[40] Therefore, the worldwide human population density is 8 billion ÷ 510 million km2 (197 million sq mi) = 15.7 people/km2 (41 people/sq mi). If only the Earth's land area of 150 million km2 (58 million sq mi) is taken into account, then human population density increases to 53.3 people/km2 (138 people/sq mi).[41][42]

Several of the most densely populated territories in the world are city-states, microstates or dependencies.[43][44] These territories share a relatively small area and a high urbanization level, with an economically specialized city population drawing also on rural resources outside the area, illustrating the difference between high population density and overpopulation.

Religion

Further information: List of religious populations

Major denominations and religions of the world

The table below lists religions classified by philosophy; however, religious philosophy is not always the determining factor in local practice. Please note that this table includes heterodox movements as adherents to their larger philosophical category, although this may be disputed by others within that category. For example, Cao Đài is listed because it claims to be a separate category from Buddhism, while Hòa Hảo is not, even though they are similar new religious movements.

The population numbers below are computed by a combination of census reports, random surveys (in countries where religion data is not collected in census, for example United States or France), and self-reported attendance numbers, but results can vary widely depending on the way questions are phrased, the definitions of religion used and the bias of the agencies or organizations conducting the survey. Informal or unorganized religions are especially difficult to count. Some organizations may wildly inflate their numbers.

Global religious affiliation
Religious category Number of followers
(in millions)
Cultural tradition Main regions covered
Christianity 2,300–2,400 [45] Abrahamic religions Predominant in the Western world (Western Europe, the Americas, Oceania), Eastern Europe, Russia, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Philippines, and East Timor in Southeast Asia. Minorities worldwide, see Christianity by country.[46]
Islam 1,600–1,800 [47][48][49] Abrahamic religions West Asia, Northern Africa, Central Asia, Indian Subcontinent, Western Africa, Maritime Southeast Asia with large population centers existing in Eastern Africa, Balkan Peninsula, Russia and China.[50]
Hinduism 1,110-1,200 [51] Indian religions Indian Subcontinent, Bali, Mauritius, Fiji, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, and among the overseas Indian communities.
No religion 1,100 [52] Secularism, half of those are theistic (but do not fit in with the major religions) Predominant in the Western world, East Asia. Minorities worldwide, see list of countries by irreligion.
Buddhism 400–600 [53][54][55] Indian religions Indian Subcontinent, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Australia and some regions of Russia.
Folk religions 600–3,000 [f] Folk religions Africa, Asia, Americas
Chinese folk religions
(including Taoism and Confucianism)
400–1,000 [56][f] Chinese Religions East Asia, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia.
Shinto 27–65 [57] Japanese Religions Japan
Sikhism 24–30 [58][53] Indian religions Indian Subcontinent, Australasia, Northern America, Southeast Asia, the United Kingdom and Western Europe.
Judaism 14–18 [53] Abrahamic religions Israel and the worldwide Jewish diaspora (mostly North America, South America, Europe, Ethiopia, and Asia).
Jainism 8–12 [g] Indian religions India, and East Africa.
Baháʼí Faith 7.3–7.9 [59] Abrahamic religions[h] Noted for being dispersed worldwide[60][61] but the top ten populations (amounting to about 65% of the world's Baháʼí Faith adherents) are (in order of size of community) India, United States, Kenya, Vietnam, DR of the Congo, Philippines, Iran, Zambia, South Africa, Bolivia[62]
Cao Đài 1–3 [63] Vietnamese Religions Vietnam.
Cheondoism 3 [64] Korean religions North Korea and South Korea
Tenrikyo 2 [65] Japanese religions Japan, Brazil.
Wicca 1 [66] New religious movements United States, Australia, Europe, Canada.
Church of World Messianity 1 [67] Japanese Religions Japan, Brazil
Seicho-no-Ie 0.8 [65] Japanese religions Japan, Brazil.
Rastafari movement 0.7 [68] New religious movements, Abrahamic religions Jamaica, Caribbean, Africa.
Unitarian Universalism 0.63 [69] New religious movements United States, Canada, Europe.

Since the late 19th century, the demographics of religion have changed a great deal. Some countries with a historically large Christian population have experienced a significant decline in the numbers of professed active Christians: see demographics of atheism. Symptoms of the decline in active participation in Christian religious life include declining recruitment for the priesthood and monastic life, as well as diminishing attendance at church. On the other hand, since the 19th century, large areas of sub-Saharan Africa have been converted to Christianity, and this area of the world has the highest population growth rate. In the realm of Western civilization, there has been an increase in the number of people who identify themselves as secular humanists. Despite the decline, Christianity remains the dominant religion in the Western world, where 70% of the population is Christian.[70] In many countries, such as the People's Republic of China, communist governments have discouraged religion, making it difficult to count the actual number of believers. However, after the collapse of communism in numerous countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, religious life has been experiencing resurgence there, in the form of traditional Eastern Christianity.[71] While, Islam however has gained considerably in the Soviet Unions former republics in Central Asia.

Following is some available data based on the work of the World Christian Encyclopedia:[72]

Trends in annual growth of adherence
1970–1985[73] 1990–2000[74][75] 2000–2005[76]
2.74%: Islam 2.13%: Islam 1.84%: Islam
3.65%: Baháʼí Faith 2.28%: Baháʼí Faith 1.70%: Baháʼí Faith
2.34%: Hinduism 1.69%: Hinduism 1.57%: Hinduism
1.64%: Christianity 1.36%: Christianity 1.32%: Christianity
1.09%: Judaism 1.87%: Judaism 1.62%: Judaism
1.67%: Buddhism 1.09%: Buddhism
2.65%: Zoroastrianism
The annual growth in the world
population over the same period
is 1.41%.

Studies conducted by the Pew Research Center have found that, generally, poorer nations had a larger proportion of citizens who found religion to be very important than richer nations, with the exceptions of the United States[77] and Kuwait.[78]

Marriage

The average age of marriage varies greatly from country to country and has varied through time. Women tend to marry earlier than men and currently varies from 17.6 for women in Niger, to 32.4 for women in Denmark while men range from 22.6 in Mozambique to 35.1 in Sweden.[79]

In 2021, 13.3 million babies, or about 10 per cent of the total worldwide, were born to mothers under 20 years old.[28]

Age structure

Population pyramid of the World from 1950 to 2100 by the UN

Main articles: Population pyramid and List of countries by median age

According to the 2021 CIA World Factbook, around 25% of the world's population is below 15 years of age.[80]

According to a report by the Global Social Change Research Project, worldwide, the percent of the population age 0–14 declined from 34% in 1950 to 27% in 2010. The elderly population (60+) increased during the same period from 8% to 11%.[81]

Median age by continent, 2018[82]
Region Median age
Asia 31 yo
Africa 18 yo
Europe 42 yo
North America 35 yo
South America 31 yo
Oceania 33 yo
Select age groups by continent, 2018[82]
Region Under 15 years
(proportion of population)
Over 65 years
(proportion of population)
Asia 24% 8%
Africa 41% 3%
Europe 16% 18%
Latin America-Caribbean 26% 8%
North America 19% 15%
Oceania 23% 12%
World 26% 9%
Median age by country as of 2017. A youth bulge is evident for Africa, and to a lesser extent for West Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and parts of the Americas.

Population growth rate

Main article: Population growth

Growth rate of world population (1950–2010)
The sharp decline in world population growth in the early 1960s caused primarily by the Great Chinese Famine

Globally, the growth rate of the human population has been declining since peaking in 1962 and 1963 at 2.20% per annum. In 2009, the estimated annual growth rate was 1.1%.[83] The CIA World Factbook gives the world annual birthrate, mortality rate, and growth rate as 1.915%, 0.812%, and 1.092% respectively[84] The last one hundred years have seen a rapid increase in population due to medical advances and massive increase in agricultural productivity[85] made possible by the Green Revolution.[86][87][88]

2010–2015 net population increase rate, per 1000 people

The actual annual growth in the number of humans fell from its peak of 88.0 million in 1989, to a low of 73.9 million in 2003, after which it rose again to 75.2 million in 2006. Since then, annual growth has declined. In 2009, the human population increased by 74.6 million, which is projected to fall steadily to about 41 million per annum in 2050, at which time the population will have increased to about 9.2 billion.[83] Each region of the globe has seen great reductions in growth rate in recent decades, though growth rates remain above 2% in some countries of the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa, and also in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.[89]

Some countries experienced negative population growth, especially in Eastern Europe mainly due to low fertility rates, high death rates and emigration. In Southern Africa, growth is slowing due to the high number of HIV-related deaths. Some Western Europe countries might also encounter negative population growth.[90] Japan's population began decreasing in 2005.[91]

Population in the world increased from 1990 to 2008 with 1,423 billion and 27% growth. Measured by persons, the increase was highest in India (290 million) and China (192 million). Population growth was highest in Qatar (174%) and United Arab Emirates (140%).[92]

In 2022 the world population reached the 8 billion. The latest projections by the United Nations suggest that the global population could grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050 and 10.4 billion in 2100.[28]

More than half of the projected increase in global population up to 2050 will be concentrated in just eight countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines and Tanzania.[28]

Rank Country Population (thousands)
1990
Population (thousands)
2010
Population (thousands)
2023 [29]
Growth (%)
1990–2010
  World 5,306,425 6,895,889 8,035,118 30.0%
1  India 873,785 1,224,614 1,428,627 40.2%
2  China 1,145,195 1,341,335 1,425,671 17.1%
3  United States 253,339 310,384 331,002 22.5%
4  Indonesia 184,346 239,871 273,523 30.1%
5  Pakistan 111,845 173,593 220,892 55.2%
6  Brazil 149,650 194,946 212,559 30.3%
7  Nigeria 97,552 158,423 206,139 62.4%
8  Bangladesh 105,256 148,692 164,689 41.3%
9  Russia 148,244 142,958 145,934 −3.6%
10  Mexico 98,899 114,092 128,932 15.3%

Births

In 2021, most births worldwide occurred in two regions: sub-Saharan Africa (29 per cent of global births), the region with the highest fertility level, Central and Southern Asia (28 per cent of global births) and Eastern and South-Eastern Asia (18 per cent).[93]

Birth count

Data required on total number of births per year, and distribution by country.

Birth rate

Main article: List of sovereign states and dependent territories by birth rate

Countries by birth rate

As of 2009, the average birth rate (unclear whether this is the weighted average rate per country [with each country getting a weight of 1], or the unweighted average of the entire world population) for the whole world is 19.95 per year per 1000 total population, a 0.48% decline from 2003's world birth rate of 20.43 per 1000 total population.

World historical and predicted crude birth rates (1950–2050)
UN, medium variant, 2008 rev.[94]
Years CBR Years CBR
1950–1955 37.2 2000–2005 21.2
1955–1960 35.3 2005–2010 20.3
1960–1965 34.9 2010–2015 19.4
1965–1970 33.4 2015–2020 18.2
1970–1975 30.8 2020–2025 16.9
1975–1980 28.4 2025–2030 15.8
1980–1985 27.9 2030–2035 15.0
1985–1990 27.3 2035–2040 14.5
1990–1995 24.7 2040–2045 14.0
1995–2000 22.5 2045–2050 13.4

According to the CIA – The World Factbook, the country with the highest birth rate currently is Niger at 51.26 births per 1000 people. The country with the lowest birth rate is Japan at 7.64 births per 1000 people. Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region of China, is at 7.42 births per 1000 people. As compared to the 1950s, birth rate was at 36 births per 1000 in the 1950s,[95] birth rate has declined by 16 births per 1000 people. In July 2011, the U.S. National Institutes of Health announced that the adolescent birth rate continues to decline.[96]

Birth rates vary even within the same geographic areas. In Europe, as of July 2011, Ireland's birth rate is 16.5 percent, which is 3.5 percent higher than the next-ranked country, the UK. France has a birth rate of 12.8 per cent while Sweden is at 12.3 percent.[97] In July 2011, the UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced a 2.4% increase in live births in the UK in 2010 alone.[98] This is the highest birth rate in the UK in 40 years.[98] By contrast, the birth rate in Germany is only 8.3 per 1,000, which is so low that both the UK and France, which have significantly smaller populations, produced more births in 2010.[99] Birth rates also vary within the same geographic area, based on different demographic groups. For example, in April 2011, the U.S. CDC announced that the birth rate for women over the age of 40 in the U.S. rose between 2007 and 2009, while it fell among every other age group during the same time span.[100] In August 2011, Taiwan's government announced that its birth rate declined in the previous year, despite the fact that it implemented a host of approaches to encourage its citizens to have babies.[101]

Birth rates ranging from 10 to 20 births per 1000 are considered low, while rates from 40 to 50 births per 1000 are considered high. There are problems associated with both an extremely high birth rate and an extremely low birth rate. High birth rates can cause stress on the government welfare and family programs to support a youthful population. Additional problems faced by a country with a high birth rate include educating a growing number of children, creating jobs for these children when they enter the workforce, and dealing with the environmental effects that a large population can produce. Low birth rates can put stress on the government to provide adequate senior welfare systems and also the stress on families to support the elders themselves. There will be less children or working age population to support the constantly growing aging population.

The ten countries with the highest and lowest crude birth rate, according to the 2018 and 2022 CIA World Factbook estimates, are:[102]

Death rate

The ten countries with the highest and lowest crude death rate, according to the 2018 and 2022 CIA World Factbook estimates, are:[103]

World historical and predicted crude death rates (1950–2050)
UN, medium variant, 2008 rev.[104]
Years CDR Years CDR
1950–1955 19.5 2000–2005 8.6
1955–1960 17.3 2005–2010 8.5
1960–1965 15.5 2010–2015 8.3
1965–1970 13.2 2015–2020 8.3
1970–1975 11.4 2020–2025 8.3
1975–1980 10.7 2025–2030 8.5
1980–1985 10.3 2030–2035 8.8
1985–1990 9.7 2035–2040 9.2
1990–1995 9.4 2040–2045 9.6
1995–2000 8.9 2045–2050 10

See list of countries by mortality rate for worldwide statistics.

According to the World Health Organization, the 10 leading causes of death in 2002 were:

  1. 12.6% Ischemic heart disease
  2. 9.7% Cerebrovascular disease
  3. 6.8% Lower respiratory infections
  4. 4.9% HIV/AIDS
  5. 4.8% Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  6. 3.2% Diarrhoeal diseases
  7. 2.7% Tuberculosis
  8. 2.2% Trachea/bronchus/lung cancers
  9. 2.2% Malaria
  10. 2.1% Road traffic accidents

Causes of death vary greatly between first and third world countries.

According to Jean Ziegler (the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food for 2000 to March 2008), mortality due to malnutrition accounted for 58% of the total mortality in 2006: "In the world, approximately 62 millions people, all causes of death combined, die each year. In 2006, more than 36 millions died of hunger or diseases due to deficiencies in micronutrients".[105]

Of the roughly 150,000 people who died each day across the globe, about two-thirds—100,000 per day—died of age-related causes in 2001, according to an article which counts all deaths "due to causes that kill hardly anyone under the age of 40" as age-related.[106][better source needed] In industrialized nations, the proportion was even higher according to that article, reaching 90%.[106]

Total fertility rate

See also: List of sovereign states and dependencies by total fertility rate

The Total fertility rate is the average number of children born per mother. In 2021, fertility levels high were found in sub-Saharan Africa (4.6 births per woman), Oceania excluding Australia and New Zealand (3.1), Northern Africa and Western Asia (2.8), and Central and Southern Asia (2.3).[28]

There is an inverse correlation between income and fertility, wherein developed countries usually have a much lower fertility rate. Various fertility factors may be involved, such as education and urbanization. Mortality rates are low, birth control is understood and easily accessible, and costs are often deemed very high because of education, clothing, feeding, and social amenities. With wealth, contraception becomes affordable. However, in countries like Iran where contraception was made artificially affordable before the economy accelerated, birth rate also rapidly declined. Further, longer periods of time spent getting higher education often mean women have children later in life.[107] Female labor participation rate also has substantial negative impact on fertility. However, this effect is neutralized among Nordic or liberalist countries.[108][further explanation needed]

In undeveloped countries on the other hand, families desire children for their labour and as caregivers for their parents in old age. Fertility rates are also higher due to the lack of access to contraceptives, generally lower levels of female education, patriarchal culture and lower rates of female employment in industry.

Total fertility rates by region, 2010–2015

Total fertility rate is the number of children born per woman.

Region Total fertility rate
(2010–2015)[109]
World 2.5
Africa 4.7
Sub-Saharan Africa 5.1
Western Africa 5.5
Middle Africa 5.8
Eastern Africa 4.9
Northern Africa 3.3
Southern Africa 2.5
Oceania 2.4
Asia 2.2
Europe 1.6
Latin America-Caribbean 2.2
North America 1.9

Health

Life expectancy (as of 2016) varies greatly from country to country. It is lowest in certain countries in Africa and higher in Japan, Australia and Spain.[110]
  >80
  77.5–80
  75–77.5
  72.5–75
  70–72.5
  67.5–70
  65–67.5
  60–65
  55–60
  50–55

The average number of hospital beds per 1,000 population is 2.94. It is highest in Switzerland (18.3) and lowest in Mexico (1.1)[111]

96% of the urban population has access to improved drinking water, while only 78% of rural inhabitants have improved drinking water. A total average of 87% of urban and rural have access to improved drinking water.

4% of the urban population does not have access to improved drinking water, leaving 22% of rural people without improved drinking water with a total world population of 13% not having access to drinking water.

76% of the urban population has access to sanitation facilities, while only 45% of the rural population has access. A total world average of 39% do not have access to sanitation facilities.

As of 2009, there are an estimated 33.3 million people living with HIV/AIDS, which is approximately 0.8% of the world population, and there have been an estimated 1.8 million deaths attributed to HIV/AIDS.

As of 2010, 925 million people are undernourished.[112]

Life Expectancy at Birth:

Infant Mortality

World historical and predicted total life expectancy at birth (1950–2050)
UN, 2017 rev.[113]
Years LEB Years LEB
1950–1955 47.9 2000–2005 67.2
1955–1960 49.3 2005–2010 69.1
1960–1965 51.2 2010–2015 70.8
1965–1970 55.5 2015–2020 72.0
1970–1975 58.1 2020–2025 73.0
1975–1980 60.3 2025–2030 73.8
1980–1985 62.1 2030–2035 74.7
1985–1990 63.7 2035–2040 75.5
1990–1995 64.6 2040–2045 76.2
1995–2000 65.7 2045–2050 77.0

Sex ratio

Map indicating the human sex ratio by country.
  Countries with more females than males.
  Countries with similar number of males and females.
  Countries with more males than females.
  No data

The value for the entire world population is 1.02 males/female,[114] with 1.07 at birth, 1.06 for those under 15, 1.02 for those between 15 and 64, and 0.78 for those over 65.

The Northern Mariana Islands have the highest female ratio with 0.77 males per female. Qatar has the highest male ratio, with 2.87 males/female. For the group aged below 15, Sierra Leone has the highest female ratio with 0.96 males/female, and Georgia and China are tied for the highest male ratio with 1.13 males/female (according to the 2006 CIA World Factbook).

The "First World" G7 members all have a gender ratio in the range of 0.95–0.98 for the total population, of 1.05–1.07 at birth, of 1.05–1.06 for the group below 15, of 1.00–1.04 for the group aged 15–64, and of 0.70–0.75 for those over 65.

Countries on the Arabian Peninsula tend to have a "natural" ratio of about 1.05 at birth but a very high ratio of males for those over 65 (Saudi Arabia 1.13, United Arab Emirates 2.73, Qatar 2.84), indicating either an above-average mortality rate for females or a below-average mortality for males, or, more likely in this case, a large population of aging male guest workers. Conversely, countries of Eastern Europe (the Baltic states, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia) tend to have a "normal" ratio at birth but a very low ratio of males among those over 65 (Russia 0.46, Latvia 0.48, Ukraine 0.52); similarly, Armenia has a far above average male ratio at birth (1.17), and a below-average male ratio above 65 (0.67). This effect may be caused by emigration and higher male mortality as result of higher post-Soviet era deaths; it may also be related to the enormous (by western standards) rate of alcoholism in the former Soviet states. Another possible contributory factor is an aging population, with a higher than normal proportion of relatively elderly people: we recall that due to higher differential mortality rates the ratio of males to females reduces for each year of age.

Unemployment rate

8.7% (2010 est.) 8.2% (2009 est.) note: 30% combined unemployment and underemployment in many non-industrialized countries; developed countries typically 4%–12% unemployment (2007 est.)

Languages

Primary language families of the world (and in some cases geographic groups of families). For greater detail, see Distribution of languages in the world.

Main article: Language family

Worldwide, English is used widely as a lingua franca and can be seen to be the dominant language at this time. The world's largest language by native speakers is Mandarin Chinese which is a first language of around 960 million people, or 12.44% of the population, predominantly in Greater China. Spanish is spoken by around 330 to 400 million people, predominantly in the Americas and Spain. Hindustani (Hindi-Urdu) is spoken by about 370 to 420 million speakers, mostly in India and Pakistan.

Arabic is spoken by around 350 million people predomimantly in Arab world. Bengali is spoken by around 250 million people worldwide, predominantly in Bangladesh and India. Portuguese is spoken by about 230 million speakers in Portugal, Brazil, East Timor, and Southern Africa.

There are numerous other languages, grouped into nine major families:

  1. Indo-European languages 46% (Europe, Western Asia, South Asia, North Asia, North America, South America, and Oceania)
  2. Sino-Tibetan languages 21% (East Asia, Mainland Southeast Asia, and South Asia)
  3. Niger–Congo languages 6.4% (Sub-Saharan Africa)
  4. Afroasiatic languages 6.0% (North Africa to Horn of Africa, and Western Asia)
  5. Austronesian languages 5.9% (Oceania, Madagascar, and Maritime Southeast Asia)
  6. Dravidian languages 3.7% (South Asia)
  7. Altaic languages (controversial combination of Turkic, Mongolic, and Tungusic families) 2.3% (Central Asia, North Asia (Siberia), and Anatolia)[l]
  8. Austroasiatic languages 1.7% (Mainland Southeast Asia)
  9. Kra–Dai languages 1.3% (Southeast Asia)

There are also hundreds of non-verbal sign languages.

Education

World map of countries shaded according to the literacy rate for all people aged 15 and over, as of 2015.[115]

Total population: 83.7% over the age of 15 can read and write, 88.3% male and 79.2% female[citation needed] note: over two-thirds of the world's 793 million illiterate adults are found in only eight countries (Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Pakistan); of all the illiterate adults in the world, two-thirds are women; extremely low literacy rates are concentrated in three regions, the Arab states, South and West Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa, where around one-third of the men and half of all women are illiterate (2005–09 est.)[citation needed]

As of 2008, the school life expectancy (primary to tertiary education) for a man or woman is 11 years.[citation needed]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The area figures are taken from individual national censuses according to the criteria and statistical concepts noted in the World Urbanization Prospects.
  2. ^ As defined by the Statistics Bureau of Japan; refers to Kanto major metropolitan area (M.M.A.)
  3. ^ The population of the city is composed of population in all City Districts meeting the criteria such as "contiguous built-up area", being the location of the local government, being a Street or Having a Resident Committee.
  4. ^ Based on a definition of urban agglomeration that is not restricted to state boundaries.
  5. ^ The Greater Mumbai urban agglomeration is defined by the municipal corporations of Greater Mumbai, Kalyan-Dombivali, Navi Mumbai, Thane and Ulhasnagar, plus the municipal councils of Ambarnath, Badlapur and Mira-Bhayandar. Not to be confused with the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, which includes some additional urban and rural units.
  6. ^ a b The number of people who consider themselves party to a "folk tradition" is impossible to determine.
  7. ^ Figures for the population of Jains differ from just over six million to twelve million due to difficulties of Jain identity, with Jains in some areas counted as a Hindu sect. Many Jains do not return Jainism as their religion on census forms for various reasons such as certain Jain castes considering themselves both Hindu and Jain. Following a major advertising campaign urging Jains to register as such, the 1981 Census of India returned 3.19 million Jains. This was estimated at the time to still be half the true number. The 2001 Census of India had 8.4 million Jains.
  8. ^ Historically, the Baháʼí Faith arose in 19th century Persia, in the context of Shia Islam, and thus may be classed on this basis as a divergent strand of Islam, placing it in the Abrahamic tradition. However, the Baháʼí Faith considers itself an independent religious tradition, which draws from Islam but also other traditions. The Baháʼí Faith may also be classed as a new religious movement, due to its comparatively recent origin, or may be considered sufficiently old and established for such classification to not be applicable.
  9. ^ This list includes only independent countries, not regions.
  10. ^ This list includes only independent countries, not regions.
  11. ^ This list includes only independent countries, not regions.
  12. ^ Since the Mongolic and Tungusic language families have only a relatively small number of speakers, the majority of the Altaic percentage represents speakers of Turkic languages.

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