The World Population in 2100, by Country
In 2015, the United Nations predicted that the global population could surpass 11 billion by the end of the century.
Last year, the UN revised these estimates, but the numbers it came up with were still well above 10 billion. These regular projections from the UN have been the status quo—until now.
Plenty of signs have pointed to there being a population plateau, but recent research from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), published in The Lancet, suggests that the number of people on this planet may actually start to shrink well before the year 2100.
Here’s a closer look at these complex projections.
UN vs. IHME Population Estimates
According to the UN, the world population is set to steadily rise over the years:
- 2030: 8.5 billion
- 2050: 9.7 billion
- 2100: 10.9 billion
In contrast, IHME paints a different picture. It projects the population to actually peak at 9.7 billion in 2064. Following this trajectory, there could be 8.8 billion people in 2100, approximately 2 billion fewer than previously thought.
Various demographic factors are behind these differences—higher life expectancies, migration rates, and lower fertility rates. For this last factor, independent drivers including contraceptive access and higher educational attainment were also considered.
A shifting age structure is also a key aspect of this transition. By 2100, over a quarter of the world or nearly 2.37 billion will be aged 65 years and above.
The Most Populous Countries in 2100
Amid all these demographic sea changes, which countries will come out on top?
Despite an overall decline in numbers to 1.09 billion people in 2100, India moves up from second to first place on the population leaderboard.
|Rank||Country||Population (2017)||Rank||Country||Population (2100E)|
|#1||🇨🇳 China||1.4B||#1||🇮🇳 India||1.09B|
|#2||🇮🇳 India||1.38B||#2||🇳🇬 Nigeria||791M|
|#3||🇺🇸 U.S.||325M||#3||🇨🇳 China||732M|
|#4||🇮🇩 Indonesia||258M||#4||🇺🇸 U.S.||336M|
|#5||🇵🇰 Pakistan||214M||#5||🇵🇰 Pakistan||248M|
|#6||🇧🇷 Brazil||212M||#6||🇨🇩 DR Congo||246M|
|#7||🇳🇬 Nigeria||206M||#7||🇮🇩 Indonesia||229M|
|#8||🇧🇩 Bangladesh||157M||#8||🇪🇹 Ethiopia||223M|
|#9||🇷🇺 Russia||146M||#9||🇪🇬 Egypt||199M|
|#10||🇯🇵 Japan||128M||#10||🇹🇿 Tanzania||186M|
The populations of both India and China will begin to contract after the mid-century—and it’s predicted that China’s total population will drop by almost half to 732 million by 2100.
Led by Nigeria, Sub-Saharan Africa is the only region that will continue to see growth by century’s end. In fact, four of the top 10 countries in the world in terms of population count will be located in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Tightly Packed Together
One final thing to consider is how population density may look in 2100, with many more people clustered in the same areas. For example, Nigeria is dealing with a land area nearly 11 times smaller than the U.S.—but it will have more than double the population.
|Country||2100 Pop.||Area (Millions, km²/mi²)||Population Density per km² (mi²)|
|🇳🇬 Nigeria||791M||0.92M km² (0.36M mi²)||856.3 (2217.7)|
|🇮🇳 India||1.09B||3.29M km² (1.27M mi²)||331.6 (858.8)|
|🇵🇰 Pakistan||248M||0.88M km² (0.34M mi²)||281.2 (728.3)|
|🇪🇹 Ethiopia||223M||1.10M km² (0.42M mi²)||202.7 (531.0)|
|🇪🇬 Egypt||199M||1.01M km² (0.39M mi²)||197.0 (510.1)|
|🇹🇿 Tanzania||186M||0.95M km² (0.37M mi²)||196.3 (508.5)|
|🇮🇩 Indonesia||229M||1.90M km² (0.74M mi²)||120.2 (311.4)|
|🇨🇩 DR Congo||246M||2.35M km² (0.91M mi²)||104.9 (271.7)|
|🇨🇳 China||732M||9.60M km² (3.70M mi²)||76.3 (197.8)|
|🇺🇸 U.S.||336M||9.83M km² (3.80M mi²)||34.2 (88.5)|
Regardless of how the future population count shakes out, it’s clear that these heavyweight countries will undergo significant transformation in the coming decades.
All World Languages in One Visualization
See the world’s major languages broken down by country in this stunning visualization.
All World Languages, By Native Speakers
View a high resolution version of today’s graphic by clicking here.
Languages provide a window into culture and history. They’re also a unique way to map the world – not through landmasses or geopolitical borders, but through mother tongues.
The Tower of Babel
Today’s infographic from Alberto Lucas Lopez condenses the 7,102 known living languages today into a stunning visualization, with individual colors representing each world region.
Only 23 languages are spoken by at least 50 million native speakers. What’s more, over half the planet speaks at least one of these 23 languages.
Chinese dominates as a macrolanguage, but it’s important to note that it consists of numerous languages. Mandarin, Yue (including Cantonese), Min, Wu, and Hakka cover over 200 individual dialects, which vary further by geographic location.
|Country||Native Chinese speakers (millions)|
|🇭🇰 Hong Kong SAR||6.5|
|🇲🇴 Macau SAR||0.5|
Chinese is one of the most challenging languages for English speakers to pick up, in part due its completely unfamiliar scripts. You’d have to know at least 3,000 characters to be able to read a newspaper, a far cry from memorizing the A-Z alphabet.
Spanglish Takes Over
After Chinese, the languages of Spanish and English sit in second and third place in terms of global popularity. The rapid proliferation of these languages can be traced back to the history of Spanish conquistadors in the Americas, and British colonies around the world.
Animation: Map of Colonization (1492 – 2008):
Today, Spanish has 399 million native speakers, but these are mostly concentrated in Latin America. English has 335 million native speakers under its belt, with a widespread reach all over the globe.
Two Worlds, One Family
While the visualization makes all the world languages seem disparate, this linguistic family tree shows how they grew from a common root. It also explains how languages can evolve and branch out over time.
Created by Minna Sundberg. Full version.
This linguistic tree also includes many languages that are not on the large visualization of 23 mother tongues. Some of them might be considered endangered or at risk today, such as Catalan or Welsh. However, with globalization, a few interesting linguistic trends are arising.
1. Language revival
Certain enclaves of marginalized languages are being preserved out of pride for the traditional and cultural histories attached.
While Catalan was once banned, its rebirth is a key marker of identity in Barcelona. More than 150 universities teach Catalan worldwide. In the case of Welsh, a mammoth university project plans to make sure it does not die out. Researchers are compiling ten million Welsh words to preserve the past, present, and future of the language.
2. Language forecast
At this point in time, English is the lingua franca – adopted as a common language among speakers with different mother tongues. However, this status might soon be fuzzier as demographic trends continue.
The rise of China is an obvious one to consider. As China continues to increase its economic might and influence, its languages will proliferate as well.
At the same time, 26 African countries are projected to double their current size, many of which speak French as a first language. One study by investment bank Natixis suggests that Africa’s growth may well bring French to the forefront – making it the most-spoken language by 2050.
Could French provide a certain je ne sais quoi that no other world language can quite replace?
This post was first published in 2018. We have since updated it, adding in new content for 2021.
Ranked: The World’s Fastest Growing Cities
Nearly 60% of the world’s population lives in cities and this trend is not slowing down—take a look at the world’s 20 fastest growing cities.
Ranked: The World’s Fastest Growing Cities
By 2025, the world’s population will reach over 8.1 billion people.
Most of that population growth will be concentrated in cities across Africa and Asia. To help paint a detailed picture, this map uses data from the United Nations to rank the top 20 fastest growing cities in the world in terms of average annual growth rate from 2020 to 2025.
Full Speed Ahead
The majority of the world’s fastest growing cities are located in Africa—in fact, 17 of the 20 are located on the continent, with four of the 20 cities being located in Nigeria specifically.
Population growth is booming across the entire continent, as many countries retain high birth rates. According to the World Bank, the 2019 fertility rate (births per woman) in Sub-Saharan Africa was 4.6, compared to the global fertility rate of 2.4.
|City||Country||Continent||Annual Growth (2020-2025p)|
|Kabinda||🇨🇩 Democratic Republic of Congo||Africa||6.37%|
|Bunia||🇨🇩 Democratic Republic of Congo||Africa||5.63%|
|Goma||🇨🇩 Democratic Republic of Congo||Africa||5.14%|
Nigeria’s economy is largely based on petroleum which has resulted in the country becoming one of the strongest economies in Africa. This, coupled with a high birth rate and a resulting young population, has given the country a strong and rising workforce.
However, the population growth in Nigeria is both a blessing and a curse. The success of the economy, among other factors, has resulted in excessive rural-to-urban migration. This mass exodus from rural areas has led to less farming, which means the country now needs to import basic food staples at a high cost.
In Mozambique, Tete and Quelimane are growing 5.56% and 5.14% respectively. The country is expected to experience strong economic growth after facing contractions due to the pandemic. Forecasts predict that the Mozambiques’s economy will grow 4% by 2022.
Implications of Fast Growth
All of the top 20 fastest growing cities are located in either Africa or Asia, and they are far outpacing growth on other continents, such as Europe, for example.
Fastest Growing Cities: Europe vs. Global
|Europe's Fastest Growing Cities||Growth Rate||World's Fastest Growing Cities||Growth Rate|
|🇷🇺 Balashikha, Russia||2.01%||🇳🇬 Gwagwalada||6.46%|
|🇷🇺 Tyumen, Russia||1.88%||🇨🇩 Kabinda||6.37%|
|🇦🇱 Tiranë (Tirana), Albania||1.63%||🇧🇩 Rupganj||6.36%|
|🇳🇴 Oslo, Norway||1.38%||🇳🇬 Lokoja||5.93%|
|🇷🇺 Sochi, Russia||1.33%||🇦🇴 Uige||5.92%|
|🇬🇧 Coventry-Bedworth, UK||1.32%||🇧🇮 Bujumbura||5.75%|
|🇸🇪 Stockholm, Sweden||1.25%||🇹🇿 Songea||5.74%|
|🇨🇭 Lausanne, Switzerland||1.23%||🇨🇳 Xiongan||5.69%|
|🇷🇺 Krasnodar, Russia||1.22%||🇳🇬 Potiskum||5.65%|
|🇷🇺 Surgut, Russia||1.17%||🇨🇩 Bunia||5.63%|
|🇷🇺 Podolsk, Russia||1.16%||🇲🇿 Tete||5.56%|
|🇮🇪 Dublin, Ireland||1.12%||🇦🇴 Cuito||5.48%|
|🇬🇧 London, UK||1.12%||🇮🇳 Hosur||5.38%|
|🇳🇱 Utrecht, Netherlands||1.11%||🇧🇯 Abomey-Calavi||5.27%|
|🇸🇪 Göteborg, Sweden||1.07%||🇳🇬 Nnewi||5.18%|
|🇫🇷 Toulouse, France||1.07%||🇦🇴 Malanje||5.17%|
|🇸🇪 Malmö, Sweden||1.05%||🇨🇲 Mbouda||5.16%|
|🇫🇷 Montpellier, France||1.04%||🇲🇿 Quelimane||5.14%|
|🇫🇷 Bordeaux, France||0.99%||🇺🇬 Kampala||5.14%|
|🇨🇭 Genève, Switzerland||0.99%||🇨🇩 Goma||5.14%|
By 2050, Sub-Saharan Africa will be home to close to 2 billion people and roughly half will be under the age of 25. This represents an enormous labor force and opportunities for innovation and growth. In fact, in navigating the pandemic, Africa is already starting to capitalize on digital advances in both traditional and new sectors.
China has its eye on Africa, as evidenced through their multiple investments in infrastructure projects in the continent. Additionally, NATO countries have recently committed to investing similar amounts in Africa to counter China’s influence.
In spite of the economic potential, increased city sizes could be problematic for some of these countries. They will need to adapt to the issues associated with mass urbanization, like pollution, overcrowding, and high costs of living.
Population booms can lead to massive economic growth, a larger (and younger) working population, and a growing domestic consumer market.
As the aforementioned cities continue their rapid expansion, and as people continue to flock to growing megacities in Africa and Asia, it could represent the beginning of an important economic shift that is worth keeping an eye on.
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