Saturday, July 20, 2024

Global population exceeds 8 billion as aging trend accelerates | The Express Tribune


The global population aged 65 and over has nearly doubled to 10.3%, and this trend is expected to continue. The world’s population, which continues to grow at varying rates in different regions, has already surpassed 8 billion people.

According to the UN Population Fund’s (UNFPA) “2024 State of World Population Report,” global population dynamics reveal significant changes in regional growth patterns, population density, and urbanization rates. As populations age globally, Europe, North America, and parts of Asia are seeing rising elderly proportions, posing challenges for healthcare, retirement plans, and labor dynamics.

Following the acceptance of a proposal by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) to the UN General Assembly in 1989, July 11 is celebrated annually as “World Population Day” to raise awareness of population-related issues.

Anadolu Agency compiled information from UN sources on the current state of the world population, including regional growth and decline trends, in observance of World Population Day.

10.3% of Global Population Aged 65 and Over

According to UNFPA data, the global share of people aged 65 and over has nearly doubled from 5.5% in 1974 to 10.3% in 2024. This figure is projected to reach 20.7% by 2074, with the number of those aged 80 and over more than tripling. Currently, developed countries have the highest proportion of elderly populations, while developing countries are typically witnessing rapid population aging. Global population aging is linked to improvements in average life expectancy and declines in fertility rates in many countries.

Global Fertility Rate Declining

Global population growth is expected to continue at a slow pace through the 2080s. The global fertility rate has dropped to about 2.3 children per woman, influenced by shifts in family planning, education, and economic conditions. Developed regions such as North America and Europe have a combined population of 1.277 billion, with an average fertility rate of 1.5 children per woman. In contrast, less developed regions spanning Asia, Africa, and Latin America accommodate 6.842 billion people, with higher fertility rates averaging 2.4 children per woman.

Population Trends in Africa and Asia

Africa remains the fastest-growing region, with significant population increases expected in countries like Nigeria, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo due to high fertility rates and improved healthcare. Population growth remains high in East and Southern Africa, with a population of 688 million, and in West and Central Africa, with a population of 516 million.

In Asia, countries like India and China are seeing slower population growth due to declining fertility rates, while Southeast Asian nations such as Indonesia and the Philippines maintain moderate growth. In Europe, low fertility rates, an aging population, and migration trends are causing population decline or stagnation. Countries like Germany, Italy, and Russia are facing challenges with shrinking workforces and rising dependency ratios.

Regional Population Density

Global population density varies significantly, with some regions becoming densely populated while others remain sparsely populated. Urban areas now host over 55% of the global population, and this proportion is expected to increase further. Cities like Tokyo, New Delhi, and Shanghai accommodate millions of residents in relatively small areas. In contrast, countries such as Canada, Australia, and Russia have large territories with sparse populations due to geographical and climatic conditions.

Maternal Deaths Decreased by 34% in 20 Years

UNFPA Türkiye Representative Mariam A. Khan told Anadolu that this year’s World Population Day theme is “Threads of Hope,” chosen in light of the six years remaining until the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2030. Khan noted that no region in the world is on track to achieve all the goals, emphasizing the need to identify ways to accelerate progress.

Khan emphasized that according to the 2024 State of World Population Report, there has been a 34% decrease in maternal deaths from 2000 to 2020, which is a significant achievement. She stated, “Now that’s really good. A similar one-third decline has happened in adolescent pregnancies. Now, these are things to celebrate. At the same time, however, the report is showing us that every day 800 women die from preventable causes of maternal deaths.”

Domestic Violence Persists Worldwide

Khan emphasized the importance of investing in solutions in the right places, stating, “162 countries have passed laws preventing domestic violence, that’s incredibly impressive. Those laws exist, but are they being implemented? Are women’s lives actually being saved? The data is showing us, in almost every country in the world, that there’s still work to be done.”

She emphasized that investing in women’s safety is not only a human rights imperative but also crucial economically for families and individuals. The report shows that disabled women are ten times more likely to experience violence, indicating reduced access to services for those from different communities, she highlighted.

“Every nation’s most important capital is its people. And if we invest in the men, the women, the young women, the young men, and the children’s education, with skills for the future, we’re going to be in a much better place,” she added.



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