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 7.6 billion as of mid-2017. 1
  • The world has added approximately one billion inhabitants over the last twelve years. 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 1.10 percent per year, or approximately an additional 83 million people annually. 1
  • The global population is expected to reach 8.6 billion in 2030, 9.8 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 30 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.

  • From 2017 to 2050, it is expected that half of the world’s population growth will be concentrated in just nine countries: India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, Ethiopia, the United Republic of Tanzania, the United States of America, Uganda and Indonesia (ordered by their expected contribution to total growth). 1
  • More than three-quarters of the world’s population lives in Africa (17 percent) and Asia (60 percent). 1
  • Africa’s share of the global population is projected to reach 26 percent in 2050 and could reach 40 percent by 2100. 1
  • In all plausible scenarios of future trends, Africa will play a central role in shaping the size and distribution of the world’s population over the next few decades. 1
  • Indigenous peoples account for around 5 percent of the world’s population but 15 percent of people living in poverty. 2
  • Amongst the 10 most populous countries in the world, Nigeria’s population, currently the seventh largest in the world, is growing the most rapidly. The population of Nigeria is projected to surpass that of the United States shortly before 2050, at which point it would become the third largest country in the world. 1
  • China (1.41 billion) and India (1.34 billion) remain the two most populous countries of the world, representing 19 and 18 percent of the world’s population, respectively. In 2024, both countries are expected to have roughly 1.44 billion people.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 percent per year. 1
  • The number of persons aged 80 or over is projected to increase from 137 million in 2017 to 425 million in 2050, and further to 909 million in 2100. 1
  • The number of older persons in the world is projected to be 1.4 billion in 2030 and 2.1 billion in 2050, and could rise to 3.1 billion in 2100. 1

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 a level slightly above 2.1 by 2095-2100. 1
  • Globally, life expectancy at birth is projected to rise from 71 years in 2010-2015 to 77 years in 2045-2050. 1
  • Africa is projected to gain nearly 11 years of life expectancy by mid-century, reaching 71 years in 2045-2050. 1

  • In 2017, 9 percent of the global population was under age 5. 1
  • Young people ages 10–24 account for about 1.8 billion of the world’s population. Ninety percent of them live in developing countries. 2
  • Children under 15 years of age represent roughly one quarter of the world’s inhabitants (26 per cent). 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.