2050:  Which Countries Will be Most Populous?

By Shlomo Maital

 Indian people

     Forecasting 2050?   That’s 35 years from now – in today’s world, impossible to predict what the world will be like then, right?   Except for one thing – population.  Demographers are pretty good at forecasting population trends.  Here is Bloomberg’s report, based on a study by the Population Reference Bureau.

     Today:   The world’s most populous country is China, with nearly 1.4 billion people.   A very close second is India, with almost 1.3 billion.   Third is America, at 340 million, followed closely by Indonesia, with some 230 million.   Fifth, Brazil, and sixth Pakistan, both around 200 million.  Seventh, Nigeria, 180 million; Eighth, Bangladesh, 150 million, followed by Russia and Mexico.

      2050:  India will be the world’s most populous country by far,  at 1.65 billion.  China’s population will actually decline (owing to the one-child policy),  to just below 1.4 billion. 

U.S. will be third, at 400 m., with Hispanics providing much of the growth,  in a tie with Nigeria.  Fifth, Indonesia, followed by Pakistan, and Brazil, at just over 200 m.     Bangladesh will be 8th.  A surprising 9th will be Congo, with close to 200 m., and 10th, Ethiopia,  at about 180 million.   Russia will not be in the top 10, as its birth rate is far below replacement. So is Japan’s. 

    In other words, three of the 10 most populous countries in the world will be African by 2050.   The world may do well to begin thinking now about how Africa will feed its growing population, and how the world can help it prepare to do so.   Perhaps India as well.