The world’s population is expected to reach about 10.9 billion by the end of the century before it grinds to a halt due to falling birth rates, a report Monday claimed.
A Pew Research Center analysis of the United Nation’s “World Population Prospects 2019: Highlights” showed that although the global population growth is expected to “virtually stop” by 2100, another 2 billion more people are expected to be living on Earth by 2050, jumping from 7.7 billion in 2019 to 9.7 billion.
“Total fertility has fallen markedly over recent decades in many countries, such that today close to half of all people globally live in a country or area where lifetime fertility is below 2.1 live births per woman, which is roughly the level required for populations with low mortality to have a growth rate of zero in the long run,” the U.N. report stated.
The global fertility rate is expected to hit 1.9 births per woman by 2100, well below the replacement rate of 2.1 births per woman. Researchers believe the rate will fall below the replacement number by 2070.
Of the regions, Africa is the one area where the population is expected to grow from 1.3 billion to 4.3 billion. The United States and Canada are also expected to see a slower population growth until 2100. The U.S. is among the nine countries that are expected to drive more than half of the projected population growth heading into 2050.
“With a projected addition of over one billion people, countries of sub-Saharan Africa could account for more than half of the growth of the world’s population between 2019 and 2050, and the region’s population is projected to continue growing through the end of the century,” the report showed.
India is expected to overtake China as the world’s most populous country by 2027. By the end of the century, there could be 1.5 billion people living in India, with China trailing with just under 1.1 billion. The U.S. population is estimated to be about 434 million.
The new report comes a month after provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics showed that U.S. birth rates hit their lowest level in 32 years.
About 3.79 million babies were born in the nation in 2018 — a 2 percent decline from the previous year and the fourth consecutive year the number of births have slumped. The current generation also isn’t reproducing enough to replace itself, with the fertility rate of 1.7 births per American woman falling 2 percent.
Some experts said the continuing trend of fewer babies being born could mean labor shortages in the future, while others believe young women today will still have children later in their lives. Data showed women in their late 30s and early 40s had slightly higher birth rates last year, while those in their teens and early 20s had fewer babies.