Poverty and Population | Compassion International

Population Facts
Get the facts about population issues in developing countries and how they affect children and their families.

population facts graphic

One of the most astounding facts about population is the sheer speed at which the world population is growing.

  • The world population reached 7.3 billion as of July 2015. 1

Even with the high death rates of those living in poverty, the world population is still expanding at an incredible rate.

  • The world’s population is growing by 1.18 percent per year, or approximately an additional 83 million people annually. 1
  • The global population is expected to reach 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100. 1
  • 50.4 percent of the world’s population is male and 49.6 percent is female. 1

A Ugandan boy and girl

  • The median age of the global population, that is, the age at which half the population is older and half is younger, is 29.6 years. 1

While the developed world argues over the ethics of issues like birth control and family planning, the poor continue to experience unprecedented population growth.

  • During 2015-2050, half of the world’s population growth is expected to be concentrated in nine countries (in order according to size of their contribution to the total growth): India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, United Republic of Tanzania, United States of America, Indonesia and Uganda. 1
  • More than three-quarters of the world’s population lives in Africa (16 percent) and Asia (60 percent). 1
  • Amongst the 10 most populous countries in the world, Nigeria’s population, currently the seventh largest in the world, is growing the most rapidly. 1
  • China (1.4 billion) and India (1.3 billion) remain the two most populous countries of the world, representing 19 and 18 percent of the world’s population, respectively. 1
  • By 2022, the population of India is projected to overtake that of China, and will reach 1.7 billion by 2050. 1
Through our programs we educate those living in poverty to help them understand the issues surrounding population growth to help them grasp the long-term implications of their decisions for themselves, their communities and their countries.
  • The world’s population aged 60 or above is growing at a rate of 3.26 percent per year. 1
  • By 2050, all major areas of the world except Africa will have nearly a quarter or more of their populations aged 60 or over. 1
  • Worldwide, more than 46 percent of people ages 60 and older live with a disability. 2

An elderly Indonesian woman

  • Global fertility is projected to fall from 2.5 children per woman in 2010-2015 to 2.0 in 2095-2100. 1
  • Projections assume that fertility in Africa will fall from 4.7 children per women in 2010-2015 to 3.1 in 2045-2050, reaching 2.2 by 2095-2100. 1
  • Globally, life expectancy at birth is projected to rise from 70 years in 2010-2015 to 77 years in 2045-2050 and to 83 years in 2095-2100. 1
  • Africa is projected to gain about 19 years of life expectancy by the end of the century, reaching 70 years in 2045-2050 and 78 years in 2095-2100. 1
  • A study using data from 219 countries from 1970 to 2009 found that, for every one additional year of education for women of reproductive age, child mortality decreased by 9.5 percent. 3

  • About one-quarter (26 percent) of the world’s people are under 15 years of age.1
  • 41 percent of Africa’s population is under age 15. 1
How do the UN Sustainable Development Goals relate to Compassion?

several children look outside through a window

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) directly parallel what Compassion does. But when it comes to goals and implementation we sometimes take a different approach. This is a quick analysis of the SDGs and how they most closely match our work, along with ways they overlap and differ.