Population to Grow Rapidly in Developing Countries

The world population is expected to balloon from 6.3 billion to 9.3 billion by 2050, and nearly 99 percent of the growth will take place in developing countries, according to comprehensive new population projections released yesterday by the Population Reference Bureau. Industrialized countries like Japan and most countries in Europe are expected to lose population — the one exception being the U.S., where liberal immigration policies and a higher birth rate portend growth of more than 40 percent by 2050, from 294 to 420 million. Meanwhile, countries in South Asia and Africa are set to explode: The population of India is expected to go from 1.1 billion to 1.6 billion by 2050, far surpassing China as the world’s most populous country. Of the 12 countries expected to double (or more) their numbers, all are poor and politically, socially, or environmentally volatile. A separate forthcoming report from the Worldwatch Institute will predict that fuel, food, and water shortages will curtail population growth in poor countries.