Population growth

Population growth is the increase in the number of individuals in a population. Global human population growth amounts to around 83 million annually, or 1.1% per year. The global population has grown from 1 billion in 1800 to 7.774 billion in 2020. It is expected to keep growing, and estimates have put the total population at 8.6 billion by mid-2030, 9.8 billion by mid-2050 and 11.2 billion by 2100. Many nations with rapid population growth have low standards of living, whereas many nations with low rates of population growth have high standards of living.


has been rising continuously since the end of the Black Death, around the year 1350. Population began growing rapidly in the Western world during the industrial revolution. The most significant increase in the world's population has been since the 1950s, mainly due to medical advancements and increases in agricultural productivity.

Haber process

Due to its dramatic impact on the human ability to grow food, the Haber process served as the "detonator of the population explosion", enabling the global population to increase from 1.6 billion in 1900 to 7.7 billion by November 2019.

Thomas McKeown hypotheses

Some of the reasons for the "Modern Rise of Population" were particularly investigated by the British health scientist Thomas McKeown. In his publications, McKeown challenged four theories about the population growth:
  1. McKeown stated that the growth in Western population, particularly surging in the 19th century, was not so much caused by an increase in fertility, but largely by a decline of mortality particularly of childhood mortality followed by infant mortality,
  2. The decline of mortality could largely be attributed to rising standards of living, whereby McKeown put most emphasis on improved nutritional status,
  3. His most controversial idea, at least his most disputed idea, was that he questioned the effectiveness of public health measures, including sanitary reforms, vaccination and quarantine,
  4. The sometime fierce disputes that his publication provoked around the "McKeown thesis", have overshadowed his more important and largely unchallenged argument that curative medicine measures played little role in mortality decline, not only prior to the mid-20th century but also until well into the 20th century.
Although the McKeown thesis has been heavily disputed, recent studies have confirmed the value of his ideas. His work is pivotal for present day thinking about population growth, birth control, public health and medical care. McKeown had a major influence on many population researchers, such as health economists and Nobel prize winners Robert W. Fogel and Angus Deaton. The latter considered McKeown as "the founder of social medicine".

Population growth rate

The "population growth rate" is the rate at which the number of individuals in a population increases in a given time period, expressed as a fraction of the initial population. Specifically, population growth rate refers to the change in population over a unit time period, often expressed as a percentage of the number of individuals in the population at the beginning of that period. This can be written as the formula, valid for a sufficiently small time interval:
A positive growth rate indicates that the population is increasing, while a negative growth rate indicates that the population is decreasing. A growth ratio of zero indicates that there were the same number of individuals at the beginning and end of the period—a growth rate may be zero even when there are significant changes in the birth rates, death rates, immigration rates, and age distribution between the two times.
A related measure is the net reproduction rate. In the absence of migration, a net reproduction rate of more than 1 indicates that the population of females is increasing, while a net reproduction rate less than one indicates that the population of females is decreasing.
Most populations do not grow exponentially, rather they follow a logistic model. Once the population has reached its carrying capacity, it will stabilize and the exponential curve will level off towards the carrying capacity, which is usually when a population has depleted most its natural resources.

Logistic equation

The growth of a population can often be modelled by the logistic equation
As it is a separable differential equation, the population may be solved explicitly, producing a logistic function:
where and is the initial population at time 0.

Human population growth rate

In 2017, the estimated annual growth rate was 1.1%. The CIA World Factbook gives the world annual birthrate, mortality rate, and growth rate as 1.86%, 0.78%, and 1.08% respectively. The last 100 years have seen a massive fourfold increase in the population, due to medical advances, lower mortality rates, and an increase in agricultural productivity made possible by the Green Revolution.
The annual increase in the number of living humans peaked at 88.0 million in 1989, then slowly declined to 73.9 million in 2003, after which it rose again to 75.2 million in 2006. In 2017, the human population increased by 83 million. Generally, developed nations have seen a decline in their growth rates in recent decades, though annual growth rates remain above 2% in poverty-stricken countries of the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa, and also in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.
In some countries the population is declining, 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 AIDS-related deaths. Some Western Europe countries might also experience population decline. Japan's population began decreasing in 2005.
The United Nations Population Division projects world population to reach 11.2 billion by the end of the 21st century, but Sanjeev Sanyal has argued that global fertility will fall below the replacement rate in the 2020s and that world population will peak below 9 billion by 2050, followed by a long decline. A 2014 study in Science concludes that the global population will reach 11 billion by 2100, with a 70% chance of continued growth into the 22nd century.
For further information regarding Human Population Growth, see the works of Dr Al Bartlett, Hans Rosling, John Lovelock, Paul Ehrlich as well as Cleric Thomas Robert Malthus.

Growth by country

According to United Nations population statistics, the world population grew by 30%, or 1.6 billion humans, between 1990 and 2010. In number of people the increase was highest in India and China. Population growth was among highest in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
Estimated population
Growth 2010–2018
3United States253,339,000310,384,000329,256,46522.5%6.08%

Many of the world's countries, including many in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and South East Asia, have seen a sharp rise in population since the end of the Cold War. The fear is that high population numbers are putting further strain on natural resources, food supplies, fuel supplies, employment, housing, etc. in some of the less fortunate countries. For example, the population of Chad has ultimately grown from 6,279,921 in 1993 to 10,329,208 in 2009, further straining its resources. Vietnam, Mexico, Nigeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, and the DRC are witnessing a similar growth in population.
The following table gives some example countries:
Example nation1967 population1990 population1994 population2002 population2008 populationLife expectancy in years Total population growth from 1960s to 2007- 2011
Sudan14,355,000†25,204,000†27,361,000†38,114,160 †42,272,000†50†27,917,000
Chad3,410,0005,679,0006,183,0009,253,49310,329,208 476,919,205
Niger3,546,0007,732,0008,846,00010,790,352 15,306,252 4411,760,252
Mauritania1,050,0002,025,0002,211,0002,667,859 3,291,000 542,241,000
Senegal3,607,0007,327,0008,102,0009,967,21513,711,597 5710,104,597
Gambia343,000861,0001,081,0001,367,124 1,705,000551,362,000
Algeria11,833,126 25,012,00027,325,00032,818,500 34,895,0007423,061,874
The DRC/Zaire16,353,00035,562,00042,552,00055,225,478 70,916,4395454,563,439
Egypt30,083,419 53,153,00058,326,00070,712,345 79,089,6507249,006,231
Réunion 418,000N/AN/A720,934 827,000 N/A409,000
The Falkland Islands 2,500N/AN/A2,967 3,140N/A640
Chile8,935,50013,173,00013,994,00015,116,43517,224,200 778,288,700
Colombia19,191,00032,987,00034,520,00041,088,22745,925,397 7326,734,397
Brazil85,655,000150,368,000153,725,000174,468,575 190,732,694 72105,077,694
Mexico45,671,00086,154,00093,008,000103,400,165 112,322,757 7666,651,757
Fiji476,727 765,000771,000844,330 849,000 70372,273
Nauru6,050 10,000N/A12,3299,322 N/A3,272
Jamaica1,876,0002,420,0002,429,0002,695,867 2,847,23274971,232
Australia11,540,764 17,086,00017,843,00019,546,792 8210,066,508
Albania1,965,500 3,250,0003,414,0003,510,4842,986,952 781,021,452
Poland31,944,00038,180,00038,554,00038,626,349 38,192,000 756,248,000
Hungary10,212,00010,553,00010,261,00010,106,0179,979,000 73-142,000
Bulgaria8,226,564 8,980,0008,443,0007,707,4957,351,234 73-875,330
United Kingdom55,068,000 57,411,00058,091,00058,789,19462,008,048 797,020,048
Ireland2,884,002 3,503,0003,571,0003,840,838 4,470,700 781,586,698
People's Republic of China720,000,0001,139,060,0001,208,841,0001,286,975,468 1,339,724,852 73619,724,852
Japan‡98,274,961 123,537,000124,961,000127,333,002127,420,000 8228,123,865
Ryukyu Islands934,176 N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
India#511,115,000843,931,000918,570,0001,028,610,328 1,210,193,422 69699,078,422
Singapore1,956,000 3,003,000 2,930,000 4,452,732 5,076,700 82 3,120,700
Sikkim#183,000 N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Monaco24,000 29,000 N/A 31,842 35,586 11,586
Greece8,716,000 10,123,000 10,426,000 10,964,020 11,305,118 N/A 2,589,118
Faroe Islands 38,000 N/A N/A 46,345 48,917 N/A 18,917
Liechtenstein20,000 29,000 N/A 33,307 35,789 15,789
South Korea29,207,856 42,793,000 44,453,000 48,324,000 48,875,000 19,667,144
North Korea12,700,000 21,773,000 23,483,000 22,224,195 24,051,218 11,351,218
Brunei107,200 266,000 280,000 332,844 401,890 76 306,609
Malaysia10,671,000 17,861,000 19,489,000 21,793,293 27,565,821 16,894,821
Thailand32,680,000 57,196,000 59,396,000 60,606,947 63,878,267 31,198,267
Lebanon2,520,000 2,701,000 2,915,000 3,727,703 4,224,000 -
Syria5,600,000 12,116,000 13,844,000 17,585,540 22,457,763 -
Bahrain182,00 503,000 549,000 667,238 1,234,596 75
Sri Lanka11,741,000 16,993,000 17,685,000 19,607,519 20,238,000 -
Switzerland6,050,000 6.712,000 6,994,000 7,261,200 7,866,500 -
Luxembourg335,000 381,000 401,000 439,539 511,840 -
Romania19,105,056 23,200,000 22,736,000 21,680,974 21,466,174 -
Niue 1,900 N/A N/A 2,134 1,398 N/A -502
Tokelau 5,194 N/A N/A 1,445 1,416 N/A -3,778
Jamaica1,876,000 2,420,000 2,429,000 2,695,867 2,847,232 74 971,232
Argentina32,031,000 32,322,000 34,180,000 37,812,817 40,091,359 74 8,060,359
France49,890,660 56,440,000 57,747,000 59,551,000 63,136,180 81
Italy52,334,000 57,662,000 57,193,000 56,995,744 60,605,053 80
Mauritius774,000 1,075,000 1,104,000 1,179,137 1,288,000 75 514,000
Guatemala4,717,000 9,197,000 10,322,000 12,974,361 13,276,517 70 8,559,517
Cuba8,033,000 10,609,000 10,960,000 11,177,743 11,239,363 77
Barbados246,000 255,000 261,000 250,012 284,589 73 18,589
Samoa131,377 164,000 164,000 178,173 179,000 N/A
Sweden7,765,981 8,559,000 8,794,000 8,920,705 9,354,462 81
Finland4,664,000 4,986,000 5,095,000 5,175,783 5,374,781 N/A
Portugal9,440,000 10,525,000 9,830,000 10,355,824 10,647,763 N/A
Austria7,323,981 7,712,000 8,031,000 8,032,926 8,404,252 N/A
Libya1,738,000 4,545,000 5,225,0005,499,074 6,420,000 77
Peru12,385,000 21,550,000 23,080,00027,949,639 29,496,000 70
Guinea Bissau528,000 965,000 1,050,000 1,345,479 1,647,000 48
Angola5,203,066 10,020,000 10,674,000 10,766,500 18,498,000 38
Equatorial Guinea277,000 348,000 389,000 474,214 676,000 61
Benin2,505,000 4,736,000 5,246,000 8,500,500 8,791,832 59
Laos2,770,000 4,139,000 4,742,000 5,635,967 6,800,000 56
Nepal10,500,000 18,961,000 21,360,000 25,284,463 29,331,000 -
Iran25,781,090 54,608,000 59,778,000 66,622,704 75,330,000 71 49,548,910
Canada20,014,880 26,603,000 29,248,00031,081,900 32,623,490 81
United States199,118,000 249,995,000 260,650,00281,421,906 308,745,538 78
Uganda7,931,000 18,795,000 20,621,000 24,227,297 32,369,558 52


Growth comparison between Africa and Europe

Population growth rates vary by world region, with the highest growth rates in Sub-Saharan Africa and the lowest in Europe. For example, from 1950 to 2010, Sub-Saharan Africa grew over four and a half times, from about 186 million to 856 million. On the other hand, Europe only increased by 35%, from 547 million in 1950 to 738 million in 2010. As a result of these varying population growths, Sub-Saharan Africa changed from 7.4% of world population in 1950 to 12.4% in 2010, while Europe declined from 22% to 11% in the same time period.

Into the future

According to the UN's 2017 revision to its population projections, world population is projected to reach 11.2 billion by 2100 compared to 7.6 billion in 2017. In 2011, Indian economist Sanjeev Sanyal disputed the UN's figures and argued that birth rates will fall below replacement rates in the 2020s. According to his projections, population growth will be only sustained till the 2040s by rising longevity, but will peak below 9 bn by 2050. Conversely, a 2014 paper by demographers from several universities and the United Nations Population Division projected that the world's population would reach about 10.9 billion in 2100 and continue growing thereafter. One of its authors, Adrian Raftery, a University of Washington professor of statistics and of sociology, says "The consensus over the past 20 years or so was that world population, which is currently around 7 billion, would go up to 9 billion and level off or probably decline. We found there’s a 70 percent probability the world population will not stabilize this century. Population, which had sort of fallen off the world’s agenda, remains a very important issue."
The German Foundation for World Population reported in December 2019 that the global human population grows by 2.6 people every second, and could reach 8 billion by 2023.