Visualizing the Changing World Population, by Country
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.
Visualizing the Link Between Unemployment and Recessions
This infographic examines 50 years of data to highlight a clear visual trend: recessions are preceded by a cyclical low in unemployment.
The Surprising Link Between Unemployment and Recessions
The U.S. labor market is having a strong start to 2023, adding 504,000 nonfarm payrolls in January, and 311,000 in February.
Both figures surpassed analyst expectations by a wide margin, and in January, the unemployment rate hit a 53-year low of 3.4%. With the recent release of February’s numbers, unemployment is now reported at a slightly higher 3.6%.
A low unemployment rate is a classic sign of a strong economy. However, as this visualization shows, unemployment often reaches a cyclical low point right before a recession materializes.
Reasons for the Trend
In an interview regarding the January jobs data, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen made a bold statement:
You don’t have a recession when you have 500,000 jobs and the lowest unemployment rate in more than 50 years
While there’s nothing wrong with this assessment, the trend we’ve highlighted suggests that Yellen may need to backtrack in the near future. So why do recessions tend to begin after unemployment bottoms out?
The Economic Cycle
The economic cycle refers to the economy’s natural tendency to fluctuate between periods of growth and recession.
This can be thought of similarly to the four seasons in a year. An economy expands (spring), reaches a peak (summer), begins to contract (fall), then hits a trough (winter).
With this in mind, it’s reasonable to assume that a cyclical low in the unemployment rate (peak employment) is simply a sign that the economy has reached a high point.
During periods of low unemployment, employers may have a harder time finding workers. This forces them to offer higher wages, which can contribute to inflation.
For context, consider the labor shortage that emerged following the COVID-19 pandemic. We can see that U.S. wage growth (represented by a three-month moving average) has climbed substantially, and has held above 6% since March 2022.
The Federal Reserve, whose mandate is to ensure price stability, will take measures to prevent inflation from climbing too far. In practice, this involves raising interest rates, which makes borrowing more expensive and dampens economic activity. Companies are less likely to expand, reducing investment and cutting jobs. Consumers, on the other hand, reduce the amount of large purchases they make.
Because of these reactions, some believe that aggressive rate hikes by the Fed can either cause a recession, or make them worse. This is supported by recent research, which found that since 1950, central banks have been unable to slow inflation without a recession occurring shortly after.
Politicians Clash With Economists
The Fed has raised interest rates at an unprecedented pace since March 2022 to combat high inflation.
More recently, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell warned that interest rates could be raised even higher than originally expected if inflation continues above target. Senator Elizabeth Warren expressed concern that this would cost Americans their jobs, and ultimately, cause a recession.
According to the Fed’s own report, if you continue raising interest rates as you plan, unemployment will be 4.6% by the end of the year.
– Elizabeth Warren
Powell remains committed to bringing down inflation, but with the recent failures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, some analysts believe there could be a pause coming in interest rate hikes.
Editor’s note: just after publication of this article, it was confirmed that U.S. interest rates were hiked by 25 basis points (bps) by the Federal Reserve.
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