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World population data sheet shows more growth in Africa and Asia

afrol News, 12 August - There is more and more youth population concentrated in Africa and Asia as the world population approaches 7 Billion, the Population Reference Bureau's 2009 has pointed out in its World Population Data Sheet and summary report, released today.

The report said global population numbers are on track to reach 7 billion in 2011, just 12 years after reaching 6 billion in 1999, adding that virtually, all of the growth is in developing countries and that the growth of the world's youth population - ages 15 to 24 - is shifting into the poorest of those countries.

"Even with declining fertility rates in many countries, world population is still growing at a rapid rate," said Bill Butz, PRB's president. "The increase from 6 billion to 7 billion is likely to take 12 years, as did the increase from 5 billion to 6 billion. Both events are unprecedented in world history."

According to the report, the projection for population growth in developing countries assumes that fertility in those countries will fall to the same low levels as in today's developed countries, around two children per woman. That is quite an assumption. Currently, the highest fertility rate is said to be in Niger, at 7.4 children per woman, while the lowest rate is in Taiwan, at1.0 children per woman.

"The great bulk of today's 1.2 billion youth - nearly 90 percent - are in developing countries," said Carl Haub, PRB senior demographer and co-author of the data sheet, adding that eight in 10 of those youth live in Africa and Asia.

"During the next few decades, these young people will most likely continue the current trend of moving from rural areas to cities in search of education and training opportunities, gainful employment, and adequate health care," he said, further stating that one of the major social questions of the next few decades is whether their expectations will be met.

The 2009 World Population Data Sheet provides up-to-date demographic, health, and environment data for all the countries and major regions of the world. It shows just how stark the contrasts are between rich and poor countries, as illustrated by the table with data from the United States, Canada, and Uganda.

Even though Canada and Uganda have close to the same population today, Uganda is projected to have more than double Canada's population by 2050. The cause of these enormous differences, according to the report, is the difference in lifetime births per woman. Ugandan women are said to have 6.7 children on average, five more than the average for Canadian women.

Other highlights of the data sheet show that Africa's population has just passed 1 billion, further stating that the continent's population is growing by about 24 million per year, and will double by 2050

The report also notes that about half the world lives in poverty, with nearly 50 percent of world population living on less than the equivalent of US$2 per day

The report further noted that HIV prevalence now appears to be on the decline in Africa, but rates are still far higher than in other world regions. It cited for instance that Swaziland has the world's highest rate of HIV at 26 percent of its population aged 15 to 49.

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