Seven billion people by 2012 says latest projection

Posted: 20 October 2008

World population is projected to reach 7 billion in 2012, according to the US Census Bureau - up from 6 billion in 1999.

World population 1950-2050
World population 1950-2050
World population increased from 3 billion in 1959 to 6 billion by 1999, a doubling that occurred over 40 years. The Census Bureau's latest projections imply that population growth will continue into the 21st century, although more slowly. The world population is projected to grow from 6 billion in 1999 to 9 billion by 2040.
These figures come from the updated world population estimates and projections released through the Bureau's International Data Base (IDB). This provides information on population size and growth, age and sex composition, mortality, fertility and net migration. The data are available for 226 countries and other selected geographies. The revision includes updated projections for 34 countries.

This revision indicates that the world population will reach 9 billion in 2040 and grow by 146 million more than previously estimated to over 9.53 billion in 2050.

The projections show world population growing at a slower pace during the first half of the 21st century than the latter half of the 20th century when it doubled from 3 billion in 1959 to 6 billion in 1999. It is projected to increase by only 50 per cent between 1999 and 2040.

Global population growth, about 1.2 per cent per year, is projected to decline to 0.5 per cent by 2050. However, this growth will be concentrated in less-developed countries and relate to a larger base figure.

World population growth rates
World population growth rates
The world population growth rate rose from about 1.5 per cent per year from 1950-51 to a peak of over 2 per cent in the early 1960s due to reductions in mortality. Growth rates thereafter started to decline due to rising age at marriage as well as increasing availability and use of effective contraceptive methods.
About 1.5 per cent of the current global population is 80 or older, with more than half living in developed countries. By 2050, about 5 per cent of the world¹s population is projected to be 80 or older, with about three in four likely to be living in less-developed countries. For developed countries, the percentage of the population 80 or older will grow to about 10 per cent in 2050.

World population estimates and projections include the impact of HIV and AIDS. Of the 34 countries updated in this revision, nine are hard hit by this pandemic (Benin, Côte d¹Ivoire [Ivory Coast], Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe and the Central African Republic).

Data for other countries seriously affected by HIV and AIDS are also available from the International Data Base.

For more information about this update, including the list of updated countries, click here