The world’s population is growing at a remarkable rate. The world’s population was only 2 billion in 1927 and reached 7 billion in 2011. It took 123 years for the world’s population to grow from 2 to 3 billion people and only 32 years for the next billion. This rate of population growth is going to have an effect and, in this article, we explore 10 countries that are about to explode as the world’s population does.
8. United States of America
The United States may seem like a very stable nation but it is one of the countries that was highlighted by the United Nations as a country expected to experience very high degrees of urbanization and population growth.
The USA has a very diverse population with more than 37 ancestry groups. This is largely the result of America being a land of opportunity for migrants for centuries.
Although the USA’s birth rate is lower than the world average, it’s population growth rate of 0.7% is higher than other developing countries. To add to this, a significant proportion of this nation’s population is migrating to its cities, putting strain on their resources.
When you consider the USA’s population of more than 321 million people and a high degree of urbanization, America’s food production and energy production infrastructure is going to be under even more pressure in the decades to come. Will the United States of America meet these challenges or will it start to collapse under its own weight?
Pakistan is the sixth most populous nation on Earth with more than 180 million people. It is characterized by periods of political instability with military coups and is in a difficult geo-political neighborhood.
Pakistan has a relatively young population with an average age of 22. The national fertility rate is 3.07 which is higher than neighbors, India and Iran. More than a third of its population is estimated to be under the age of 15.
Pakistan’s busiest city is Karachi with over 33,500,625 people, followed by Lahore with more than 15,218,745 people. Much of the country’s population growth comes from immigrants, especially since Pakistan’s separation from India in the 1940s.
Pakistan has experienced a dramatic increase in urbanization since its independence. City dwellers make up over 36% of the total population, making Pakistan the most urbanized country in South-East Asia.
Almost 60% of the population live on the island of Java which is the home of the largest ethnic group, the Javanese – about 42% of the total population.
Chinese-Indonesian controlled businesses dominate the Indonesian economy and this has led to more than a little resentment of the Chinese. China’s efforts to expand its commercial interests are almost certainly fuelled by its own dramatic growth but it means Indonesians can expect even more involvement going forward.
Indonesians have a strong sense of regional identity alongside their national identity and one of the areas of conflict concern the influential ethnic Chinese-Indonesian minority. This is bound to be a source of even more conflict going forward.
This South-East Asian country is bordered by India, Burma, Nepal and Bhutan. It is the eighth most populous country with more than 160 million people.
In addition to having one of the largest populations in the world, Bangladesh is also one of the most densely populated countries. Bangladesh’s population exploded from about 44 million people in 1951 to its current level in just over 60 years.
Bangladesh’s phenomenal population growth rate only slowed after the government began promoting birth control in the 1980s. Before that, the country’s population grew from 65 million to 110 million just in the 1960s and 1970s.
About 34% of the country’s people are 15 years or younger and about a quarter of the country lives below the international poverty line. This likely contributes to significant urbanization and more pressure on this country’s limited resources even as the population continues to grow.
4. United Republic of Tanzania
Tanzania is an East African country in the African Great Lakes region. It is home to Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro, and almost 45 million people.
Tanzania’s 2012 estimated about 44% of the population to be under the age of 15. The population is very unevenly distributed and almost 70% of the population is still concentrated in rural areas.
The average birth rate is 5.4 with rural families averaging 6.1. The average age is around 17.3 years with average life expectancy being around 60%.
HIV/AIDS has a significant impact on the Tanzanian population with an average of 5.1% of the population infected. To add to the instability this disease adds, the World Bank estimates that more Tanzanians will live in cities than rural areas by 2050. That is a massive shift.
The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is located on the Horn of Africa north of Kenya. Ethiopia is the most populous land-locked country with over 90 million residents.
Ethiopia experienced dramatic growth in the 20th century. In 1983, Ethiopia’s polupation was about 33.5 million and, by 2014, this had increased to 87.9 million. Ethiopia’s population growth rate remains among the top 10 highest growth rates, worldwide.
Ethiopia had two periods of increased urbanization between 1936 and 1941 as well as between 1967 and 1975. These two periods were fuelled by an Italian occupation and, later, by a general trend of the rural population moving to the cities for a better life.
Substantial poverty and factors leading to poor agricultural productivity exacerbate rural poverty. The cities are not much better. More than half of the urban population lives in slums building homes from whatever materials they can scrounge. The high population growth rate will only continue to place severe strain on Ethiopia’s infrastructure.
2. Democratic Republic of Congo
This Central African country is the largest in Africa by surface area and the most populous French-speaking country. This country was known as Zaire until 1997 when a civil war lead to a regieme change and a new name.
The DRC’s population exploded from 39.1 million people in 1992 to more than 66 million just 17 years later. Kinshasa, the DRC’s capital accommodates over 11 million people, alone.
The DRC has rich natural resources which are not effectively exploited due to various factors including rampant corruption. Despite this, migrants seem to find this country to be an attractive destination because of the opportunities available and regional instability.
Increased violence in the DRC has slowed immigration by about half in the last 50 years but continues at a significant rate.
This West African country has roughly 174 million inhabitants, making it the most populous country in Africa and the 7th most populous country in the world. It also has the largest youth population in the world.
Between 1990 and 2008, the Nigerian population increased by 60% or 57 million people. More than half the population 14 years or younger and about half its population in cities.
Nigeria’s population growth has been described as “explosive” and Nigeria has one of the highest growth and fertility rates in the world. Nigeria is estimated to join another 7 countries in accounting for half the world’s population’s increase between 2005 and 2050.
Nigeria’s capital city has grown from 300,000 citizens in 1950 to an estimated 15 million just a few years ago. This figure was expected to rise to 25 million in 2015, a dramatic increase.