NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Population Levels Stabilize In Developed Countries

May 22, 2001

Natural population growth has essentially stopped in industrialized countries and shifted almost entirely to the less developed countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America. That is a main conclusion of a study by researchers at the nonprofit Population Reference Bureau.

  • Of the 83 million people being added to the global population each year, only 1 million are in the industrialized countries.
  • In 1950, there were twice as many people in less-developed countries than in developed ones -- a proportion that could climb to almost 6-to-1 in 2050.
  • The developing world's population is projected to increase by 2.9 billion by 2050 -- compared with only 49 million in the more developed countries.
  • Women in less developed countries -- excluding China -- average 3.6 children, compared with only 1.6 in the more developed nations.

The United States is now the only industrialized country in the world with a fertility rate at or above the replacement level of 2.1 children per woman.

Source: Associated Press, "Population Rises Halt in Developed Nations," Washington Times, May 22, 2001.


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