7 billion people now expected by 2011

Posted: 13 August 2009

The world's population is set to reach 7 billion in 2011, a year earlier than expected, and most of the growth is occurring in the developing world, according to the 2009 World Population Data Sheet.

"Even with declining fertility rates in many countries, world population is still growing at a rapid rate,� said Bill Butz, president of the Washington-based World Population Reference Bureau which publishss this respected annual report.

"The increase from 6 billion [reached in 1999] to 7 billion is likely to take 12 years, as did the increase from 5 billion to 6 billion. Both events are unprecedented in world history." The Data Sheet projects that world population will reach 8.1 billion by 2025.

Madagascar - mouths to feed
Madagascar - mouths to feed
Children in Madagascar - many mouths to feed. Photo: Christina Corbett/IRIN
The report provides up-to-date demographic, health, and environment data for all the countries and major regions of the world. Among the highlights are:

  • Some 48 per cent of world population lives in poverty, on less than the equivalent of US$2 per day. Hundreds of millions of people live barely above that level.

  • At least 97 per cent of all population growth in the next 40 years will be in developing countries. By 2050, nine in ten young people under 25 will live in developing countries, most in Africa and Asia.

  • Africa's population has just passed 1 billion. The continent's population is growing by about 24 million per year, and will double by 2050.

  • At the moment, 55 per cent of married women aged 15-49 are using modern forms of contraception. However, this varies by region � in Western Africa, only 9 per cent are doing so, compared to 69 per cent in North America or 75 per cent in Northern Europe.

  • The birth rate among US teenagers aged 15-19 is twice as high as the average for all developed countries. The US rate is 42 births per 1,000 teenage girls; the rate for all developed countries is 21 per 1,000.

For more details from the report visit www.prb.org