Recently many studies have been published about composition of the world population in 2050. People are fascinated by the changes that will happen in the next few decades. Many of us may not be alive to see these changes. However, it is interesting to know what will be the regional and geographic shift. Europe will see negative growth while Asia a population explosion. Muslims will be one-third of the world population in 2050.
Survival of civilization depends on its fertility rate. In order to maintain the same population composition, birth rate of two or more is required. U.S. has fertility rate of 2.1, partly due to immigration. At this time more than 80% of the babies born are in Asia and Africa. Japanese are aging so rapidly that by 2040 senior citizens will account for 40% of their population.
While Africa and Asia will have population explosion, twenty countries will have negative or zero population growth. They are all in Europe except for Japan. This is unprecedented in history. Only Austria in Europe will have positive population growth while Russia will lose 28% of its population (46.8 to 33.4 million). Due to low fertility rate, Germany and Italy are encouraging parenthood with cash payments. European population is expected to decrease by 7% by 2050.
World population is expected to grow from 6.8 billion now to 9.3 billion. Population of developing countries will grow from 5.8 to 8 billion. Developed countries will go from 1.2 to 1.3 billion according to the October 19, 2009 issue of Newsweek magazine.
Demographic changes will be dramatic in U.S. White majority will become minority by 2050 while Hispanic population is expected to triple according to Pew Research Center. Portion of White population will decrease from 67% in 2005 to 47% while Hispanic portion will increase from 24% to 29%. African-American population is expected to stay at 13%. U.S. population is expected to be 438 million with most of growth coming from immigrants and high Hispanic birthrate.
Muslims account for 23% (1.57 billion) of 6.8 billion world population today. Of these 60% are in Asia (Indonesia, Pakistan, and Bangladesh) and 20% in the Middle East and North Africa. More than 300 million Muslims or 1/5 of the world’s Muslim world population live in countries where Islam isn’t the majority religion. Indian Muslims are the third largest worldwide. In 2005, Muslims represented 23% of world population (One out of four). This figure will attain 33% in 2050 (One out of three).
The Muslim population of the European Union is going to reach 20% in 2050 compared to only 5% in 2009.The main factors for the increase of European Muslim population are the high number of immigrants from Muslim states, and their higher birthrate compared to the European population, the BBC reported. States like the UK, Spain, and the Netherlands are going to reach the 20% Muslim population threshold much earlier than the other EU countries. In 2009, Muslims make up 9% of the population of France. In cities like Marseilles and Rotterdam the figure is 25%. In London and Copenhagen, the Muslims are 10% of the total population. Spain has seen the largest increase in its Muslim population as it has attracted 1 million Moroccan immigrants in recent years.
Population increase doesn’t need to be feared. While developing countries may be mired in poverty, disease and struggle to provide basic necessities of life (water, electricity, food and security) to its population, developed countries will march ahead in science and technology, bringing prosperity and raising the standard of living for their citizens. China, India, Brazil are the perfect examples of that.
(The writer is medical doctor based in Clinton, Iowa (U.S.)