Friday, November 23, 2007

Global Demographic Trends - A few macro numbers

In 2007, the world's ten largest largest countries in population terms were:

  1. China - 1.32 billion
  2. India - 1.13 billion
  3. US - 301 million
  4. Indonesia - 235 million
  5. Brazil - 190 million
  6. Pakistan - 165 million
  7. Bangladesh - 150 million
  8. Russia - 141 million
  9. Nigeria - 135 million
  10. Japan - 127 million.

In 2050, the world's ten largest countries in population terms are projected to be:

  1. India - 1.81 billion
  2. China - 1.42 billion
  3. US - 420 million
  4. Nigeria - 357 million
  5. Indonesia - 313 million
  6. Bangladesh - 280 million
  7. Pakistan - 278 million
  8. Brazil - 228 million
  9. Congo (Kinshasa) - 203 million
  10. Mexico - 148 million

Even at this most macro level, we can see some interesting features.

In both 2007 and 2050, three of the top ten belong to the old Indian Empire of the British Raj. However, India and China have reversed positions as the world's most populous countries. Further, by 2050 India in absolute terms will dwarf the populations of Pakistan and Bangladesh. This has interesting implications for the power dynamics on the subcontinent.

Both China and India have been growing fast in economic terms, China somewhat faster. The size of India's population means that increases in per capita incomes are likely to be less than China's. However, aggregate Indian GDP could well pass that of China.

Factor in climate change. If the projections are to be believed, by 2050 Bangladesh's projected 280 million people are likely to face very serious problems from rising sea levels. How will they respond?

At present, Russia is the only European country in the top ten. In 205o there are projected to be none. As will be discussed in a later post, Europe as a whole presently faces population decline.

In 2007, Nigeria at 135 million is the only country in the top ten. On the 2050 projections, There will be two: Nigeria at 357 million, Congo (Kinshasa) at 203 million.

The African population is still growing rapidly. The continent as a whole has been experiencing economic troubles. Will this change, or will Africa become a powder keg? What does all this mean for powder structures within Africa?

In the next post, we will look at the European dilemma.

Note on Sources

Source data can be found at the introductory post.

Posts in Series

Introductory post. Next post.

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