Visualizing the Changing World Population, by Country
On average, there are 250 babies born every minute around the world. This adds up to over 130 million new human beings entering the world every year.
Then it’s no surprise that the world’s population, which now stands at a whopping 8 billion, has more than tripled since the mid-20th century.
This graphic by Truman Du uses December 2022 population data from the UN and summaries from the French Institute for Demographic Studies (INED) to show the unequal rise and fall of the world’s population by 2050.
Let’s take a closer look at some of these population trends.
Most Populous Countries: 2022 vs. 2050
The Asian countries of India and China have topped the rankings of the world’s most populous countries for hundreds of years.
China currently holds the number one spot on this list. But the population of India is expected to surpass that of China’s by later this year, eventually reaching a total of 1.67 billion in 2050.
|Rank||Most Populous Countries (2022)||Population (2022)||Most Populous Countries (2050)||Population (2050)|
|3||United States of America||338M||United States of America||375M|
The United States, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Indonesia are the next most populous countries in 2022, and they are expected to hold onto these spots until 2050. However, they have a long way to go before catching up with the top two, as their combined population doesn’t add up to half that of India and China’s total.
Interestingly, it is estimated that Nigeria’s population will shoot up to 375 million by 2050, almost matching the population of the United States. In 2022, the African country’s population was just around 219 million. This expected spike is largely due to a high birth rate and booming economy, and the resultant rural-to-urban migration.
Countries with Declining Populations
While many countries will be seeing their populations boom over the next three decades, other nations such as China are expected to experience the opposite.
|Country||Population (2022)||Population (2050F)|
|China||1.425 billion||1.316 billion|
|Japan||123.9 million||104.1 million|
|Russian Federation||144.7 million||133.4 million|
|Italy||59.0 million||52.4 million|
|Republic of Korea||51.8 million||45.9 million|
|Germany||83.4 million||79.1 million|
|Thailand||71.7 million||68.1 million|
|Spain||47.6 million||44.3 million|
Several countries in the world are expected to see their populations decline over the next 30 years. And the main reason for this: extremely low birth rates.
South Korea, which has the world’s lowest fertility rate, is expected to see a sharp decline of almost 12% in its population as it falls to 46 million by 2050.
Changing world population trends like this can pose challenges for economies around the world, such as labor shortages, aging populations, and an increasing financial burden on younger generations.
This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.
Charted: The Dipping Cost of Shipping
After a dramatic spike during the pandemic, shipping costs have now fallen back to Earth. What does that mean for shippers and the economy?
The Dipping Cost of Shipping
A little over one year ago, congestion at America’s West Coast ports were making headlines, and the global cost of shipping containers had reached record highs.
Today, shipping costs have come back down to Earth, with some routes approaching pre-pandemic levels. The graphic above, using data from Freightos, shows just how dramatically costs have fallen in a short amount of time.
The Freightos Baltic Index (FBX)—a widely recognized benchmark for global freight rates—has fallen 80% since its peak in late 2021.
|Shipping Route||Peak Price (Last 90 days)||Recent Price||Change|
|East Asia -> North America West||$2,702||$1,323||-51%|
|North America West -> East Asia||$1,037||$805||-22%|
|East Asia -> North America East||$6,296||$2,812||-55%|
|East Asia -> North Europe||$4,853||$2,978||-39%|
|North America East -> North Europe||$850||$552||-35%|
|North Europe -> North America East||$7,102||$5,507||-22%|
Why Shipping Costs Matter
The vast majority of trade is conducted over the world’s oceans, so skyrocketing shipping costs can wreak havoc on the global economy.
A recent study from the IMF, which included 143 countries over the past 30 years, found that shipping costs are an important driver of inflation around the world. In fact, when freight rates double, inflation increases by 0.7 of a percentage point.
Of course, some nations feel the effects of higher shipping costs more acutely than others. Countries that import more of what they consume and that are more integrated into the global supply chain are more likely to see inflation rise as shipping costs elevate.
Falling Freight Rates Are a Good Thing, Right?
Falling shipping costs are great news for everyone except, well…shippers.
While most of us can eventually look forward to improved supply chain efficiency and less inflationary pressure, shipping companies are seeing the end of a two-year boom period.
For example, major shippers like COSCO and Hapag-Lloyd saw a staggering 10x or more increase in profit per 20-foot equivalent unit (TEU) shipped.
For the time being, carriers are canceling voyages and sending obsolete ships to scrap to keep prices from bottoming out completely. In early January, container spot freight rates rose for first time in 43 weeks, signaling that the rollercoaster ride that shipping rates have been on since the start of the pandemic may be coming to an end.
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