News Africa24 Jun 2019

Africa:Sub-Saharan region to add 1bn people by 2050

| 24 Jun 2019

With a projected addition of over 1bn people, countries of sub-Saharan Africa could account for more than half of the growth of the world's population between 2019 and 2050, and the region's population is projected to continue growing through to 2100, according to a forecast by the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat.

In a report “World Population Prospects 2019: Highlights“, the Population Division says that of the additional 2bn people who may be added to the global population between 2019 and 2050, 1.05bn (52%) could be added in countries of sub-Saharan Africa.

This momentum means that sub-Saharan Africa is projected to become the most populous region in the world around 2062, surpassing both Eastern and Southeastern Asia and Central and Southern Asia in size.

Between 2019 and 2050, the populations of 18 least developed countries, all in sub-Saharan Africa, have a high probability of at least doubling in size, while in one country, Niger, the population is projected to nearly triple from 23.3m at present to 65.6m by 2050 .

The percentage of the population that is aged 25 to 64 years in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to rise for several decades, from 35% in 2019 to 43% in 2050 and to 50% in 2100.

Sub-Saharan Africa is also projected to experience population ageing over the coming decades, but to a much lesser extent, with the percentage of the population aged 65 or over rising from 3% in 2019 to around 5% in 2050. In 2019, sub-Saharan Africa has 11.7 persons aged 25 to 64 for each person aged 65 or over.

The greatest gains in life expectancy in the world are in sub-Saharan Africa, where improvements in survival have added nearly 12 years to the average length of life since 1990, reaching 61.1 years in 2019.

Still, the world’s shortest-lived countries are the Central African Republic, Chad, Lesotho, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, each with life expectancy at birth below 55 years in 2019.

Nigeria is expected to be the country with the second largest population increase in the world by 2050, with India growing the most. Nigeria is expected to add 200m people by 2050 after India's projected 273m increase.

The population projections for the 10 most populous countries in Africa by 2050 and by 2100 are:

 

Country

2019

'000

2050

'000

2100

'000

1

Nigeria

200,964

401,315

732,942

2

Ethiopia

112,079

205,411

294,393

3

Democratic Republic of the Congo

86,791

194,489

362,031

4

Egypt

100,388

159,957

224,735

5

Tanzania

58,005

129,387

285,652

6

Kenya

52,574

92,575

125,424

7

Uganda

44,270

89,447

136,785

8

Sudan

42,813

81,193

142,342

9

Angola

31,825

77,420

188,283

10

South Africa

58,558

75,518

79,191

Ranked by projected population size in 2050

Northern Africa

While population growth in Northern Africa has been slower than in sub-Saharan Africa over recent decades, the region is also projected to continue to grow through the end of this century, adding 130m people between 2019 and 2050 and another 133m people between 2050 and 2100. In Northern Africa, the proportion of the elderly population is expected to double by 2050, the study also notes.

The following table shows population projections by region in Africa:

Region

2019

 

'000

2050

 

'000

2100

 

'000

Eastern Africa

433,905

851,218

1,451,842

Middle Africa

174,308

382,640

746,061

Southern Africa

66,630

87,379

93,571

Western Africa

391,440

796,494

1,483,796

Sub Saharan Africa

1,066,283

2,117,731

3,775,270

Northern Africa

241,781

371,545

504,858

Africa

1,308,064

2,489,276

4,280,128

 

The 2019 revision of the World Population Prospects is the 26th edition of the official United Nations population estimates and projections. It presents population estimates from 1950 to the present for 235 countries or areas, underpinned by analyses of historical demographic trends. This latest assessment considers the results of 1,690 national population censuses conducted between 1950 and 2018, as well as information from vital registration systems and from 2,700 nationally representative sample surveys.


 

 

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