The world population has not grown so little since 1950

The world population has not grown so little since 1950

For the first time since 1950, the world population has grown less than 1% in a year. This is what emerges from the latest United Nations report on world demographic trends, World population prospect, relating to the period between 2020 and 2021. A framework in which the pandemic crisis has contributed to reducing the number of births and lowering the global life expectancy of nearly two years. However, despite the decline, estimates predict that the world will reach 8 billion inhabitants by the end of 2022, to reach 10.4 by 2080.

The number of deaths caused by the coronavirus has impacted significantly significant on life expectancy worldwide, taking it from 72.9 years in 2019 to 71 years in 2021. At the same time, the effects of long lockdowns and restrictions have led to a further decrease in births, increasing a trend already underway in many countries.

According to the report, global fertility is decreasing by some decades. About two thirds of the global population lives in a country or geographic area where fertility is less than 2.1 births per woman. The United Nations estimates that, over the next three decades, these low fertility levels, together with the high rate of emigration, will cause the population rate to drop by 1% in at least 61 countries.

These include many European states, where the low levels of fertility in recent decades also depend on the presence of few young people, due in part to the strong emigration abroad of citizens of some countries, in search of better job opportunities. This structural decline, combined with the deaths due to the pandemic and its effects on the birth rate, have caused a general decrease in the European population, which has also been contributed to by less migration.

Overall, the European population decreased by 744,000 people in 2020, reaching 1.4 million fewer in 2021. According to Eurostat data in the Demography of Europe report, the most significant decline occurred in Italy, where in 2021 the number of residents decreased by 253 thousand, followed by France, with about 186 thousand fewer people, and by Poland, with 185 thousand fewer people. . The negative number has outstripped even positive net migration, the report points out, again due to the impact of the pandemic.

Although global growth is slower than in previous years, the United Nations estimates that the world's population it will in any case exceed 8 billion people by the end of 2022 and will continue to grow at least until 2080, when the world will reach 10.4 billion inhabitants. Once we get to that level, the trend should reverse and the world population will begin to decline.