Total and urban population

Annual population growth, 2019(Percentage)

Slowdown of world population growth

The steady slowdown in world population growth, observed since the late 1980s, continued in 2019. According to the latest estimates, world population grew by 1.1 per cent over the year, or 82 million people, to reach a global total of 7.7 billion. In the coming decades, the slowdown in the rate of population growth is projected to continue. By 2050, it is forecast to fall below 0.5 per cent.

The population of Africa is growing especially fast. In 2019, with a rate of 2.5 per cent, it increased at more than double the pace of the world total. Several central African economies recorded growth rates well above 3 per cent. Rates higher than the world average were also common in Western, Southern and South-Eastern Asia and in Central and Western-Andean South America. Developed economies experienced generally low population growth, 0.3 per cent on average. Several Eastern and Southern European economies, as well as, for example, Venezuela, Cuba, Georgia and Japan, saw their populations decline.

Figure 1Annual growth rate of world population (Percentage)

Note: Annual exponential rate of growth of the population (see on the Calculation methods page).

Developing economies drive population growth

Over the last 30 years, the world population has increased by 2.5 billion people. More than 90 per cent of this growth occurred in developing economies, mainly Asia and Oceania. Today, four in five people live in a developing economy. In 1989, this was only the case for three in four.

In the next 30 years, the world is projected to host an additional 2.0 billion people. Most of that increase will be accounted for by the developing world. The population of Africa alone is projected to grow by 1.1 billion. One quarter of the world population will live in Africa, as compared to one sixth today.

Figure 2World population by group of economies (Billions)

Urbanization continues

All over the world, a growing proportion of the population lives in cities. Ten years ago, 51.1 per cent lived in urban areas. By 2019, the share of urban population increased to 55.7 per cent. It is generally higher in the developed (80.5 per cent in 2019) than in the developing world (51.1 per cent), with transition economies in between the two (65.4 per cent).

Over the last ten years, urbanization has been most pronounced in developing economies, especially in developing Asia and Oceania, which saw the urbanization rate increase from 42.3 in 2009 to 49.1 per cent in 2019. By contrast, further urbanization in the developing economies of America has been relatively modest. But urbanization levels in this region are already comparable to developed economies.

Figure 3Urban population by group of economies (Percentage of total population)

Summary tables

Table 1

Total population by group of economies

Group of economies

Population

Annual growth ratea

(Millions)

(Percentage)

2014

2019

2050

2014–2019

2019

2019–2050

World

7 295

7 713

9 735

1.1

1.1

0.8

Developing economies

5 944

6 338

8 318

1.3

1.2

0.9

Developing economies: Africa

1 151

1 307

2 488

2.5

2.5

2.1

Developing economies: America

613

644

759

1.0

0.9

0.5

Developing economies: Asia and Oceania

4 180

4 387

5 072

1.0

0.9

0.5

Transition economies

305

311

315

0.4

0.3

0.0

Developed economies

1 046

1 065

1 102

0.4

0.3

0.1

Selected groups

Developing economies excluding China

4 545

4 904

6 916

1.5

1.5

1.1

Developing economies excluding LDCs

5 025

5 304

6 441

1.1

1.0

0.6

LDCs

919

1 033

1 877

2.3

2.3

1.9

LLDCs

463

521

926

2.4

2.3

1.9

SIDS (UNCTAD)

12

13

16

1.1

1.0

0.7

HIPCs (IMF)

644

740

1 482

2.8

2.7

2.2

BRICS

3 097

3 216

3 482

0.8

0.7

0.3

G20

4 693

4 864

5 277

0.7

0.7

0.3

a
Annual exponential rate of growth (see on the Calculation methods page).
Find the data on UNCTADstat
Table 2

Urban population by group of economies

Group of economies

Urban population

Share in total population

(Millions)

(Percentage)

2014

2019

2050

2014

2019

2050

World

3 901

4 300

6 656

53.5

55.7

68.4

Developing economies

2 870

3 239

5 458

48.3

51.1

65.6

Developing economies: Africa

469

563

1 470

40.8

43.1

59.1

Developing economies: America

487

520

665

79.5

80.8

87.7

Developing economies: Asia and Oceania

1 913

2 156

3 323

45.8

49.2

65.5

Transition economies

199

204

234

65.1

65.4

74.1

Developed economies

833

857

965

79.6

80.5

87.6

Selected groups

Developing economies excluding China

2 111

2 374

4 336

46.4

48.4

62.7

Developing economies excluding LDCs

2 581

2 887

4 473

51.4

54.4

69.4

LDCs

289

352

985

31.5

34.1

52.5

LLDCs

138

162

422

29.7

31.0

45.5

SIDS (UNCTAD)

6

6

9

45.2

46.0

55.7

HIPCs (IMF)

219

269

793

34.0

36.4

53.5

BRICS

1 494

1 667

2 374

48.2

51.8

68.2

G20

2 697

2 929

3 901

57.5

60.2

73.9

Table 3

Most populated economies

Economy

Total

Urban

Population

Annual growth ratea

Share in total
population

Annual growth ratea

(Millions)

(Percentage)

(Percentage)

(Percentage)

2019

2014–2019

2019–2050

2019

2014–2019

2019–2050

China

1 434

0.5

-0.1

60.3

2.6

0.8

India

1 366

1.1

0.6

34.5

2.3

2.0

United States of America

332

0.6

0.5

82.6

0.8

0.7

Indonesia

271

1.2

0.6

56.0

2.4

1.5

Pakistan

217

2.1

1.4

36.9

2.7

2.6

Brazil

211

0.8

0.3

86.8

1.1

0.5

Nigeria

201

2.6

2.2

51.2

4.3

3.2

Bangladesh

163

1.1

0.5

37.4

3.3

2.0

Russian Federation

146

0.2

-0.2

74.6

0.3

0.1

Mexico

128

1.2

0.6

80.4

1.5

0.9

Japan

127

-0.2

-0.6

91.7

-0.1

-0.5

Ethiopia

112

2.7

2.0

21.2

4.9

3.9

Philippines

108

1.5

0.9

47.1

1.9

1.8

Egypt

100

2.1

1.5

42.7

2.0

2.4

Viet Nam

96

1.0

0.4

36.6

3.0

1.9

Congo, Dem. Rep. of the

87

3.3

2.6

45.0

4.6

3.7

Germany

84

0.5

-0.1

77.4

0.5

0.1

Turkey

83

1.5

0.5

75.6

2.2

0.9

Iran (Islamic Republic of)

83

1.4

0.7

75.4

2.1

1.1

Thailand

70

0.3

-0.2

50.7

1.9

0.8

a
Annual exponential rate of growth (see on the Calculation methods page).
Find the data on UNCTADstat